(AFP) – Nov 29, 2010
SARAJEVO — Bosnian victims of sexual violence during the 1990s war on Monday slammed "ignorant" actress-turned-director Angelina Jolie, who is shooting a movie about Bosnia that has sparked controversy.
"Angelina Jolie's ignorant attitude towards victims says enough about the scenario and gives us the right to continue having doubts about it," the Women Victims of War (WVW) association said in a letter published Monday.
In the letter to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), for which Jolie is a goodwill ambassador, the association said its members were "deeply concerned" over the movie.
Jolie started filming her directorial debut, a love story between a Muslim woman and a Serb man set against the background of Bosnia's 1992-1995 inter-ethnic war, in October in Hungary.
After initial problems with the permission to shoot part of the movie in Bosnia, due to complaints by victims' associations to local authorities, Jolie eventually had her team film only a few panoramic views earlier this month without being present herself in the Balkan country.
According to the synopsis, the movie is a wartime love story between a Serb guard in a prison camp and a Muslim detainee, his former girlfriend.
It caused controversy in Bosnia when local media reported rumours that the film was the story of a Muslim rape victim who falls in love with her Serb attacker.
Jolie had sent the authorities a copy of the script which her Bosnian production company said did not include any such rape love story.
Jolie said at the time she wanted to meet the associations that had complained about her film to clear up any misunderstandings, but the meeting never took place.
"We have insisted to meet Angelina Jolie since we don't want to be wrongly presented in the world ... Our voices are worthwhile and we should have got much more respect," the WVW letter said.
"Angelina made a big mistake. We feel that she did not act like a real UNHCR ambassador and we believe that she has no more credibility to remain the ambassador," it concluded.
WVW head Bakira Hasecic said Jolie invited the victims to meet her in the Hungarian capital but they refused the invitation.
"Crimes were committed here, in Bosnia, and we want to meet her here," Hasecic told AFP.
"We wanted to talk woman to woman. She should have asked after the victims, come (to Bosnia) before the shooting to hear our voice."
"As far as we are concerned a love story could not have existed in a camp. Such an interpretation is causing us mental suffering," she stressed.
The 1992-1995 war between Bosnia's Croats, Muslims and Serbs claimed some 100,000 lives.
Government officials estimate that at least 20,000 mostly Muslim women were raped during the conflict.
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