By Drazen Remikovic
Despite the excitement surrounding Tuesday night’s (February 14th) Sarajevo premiere of the film “In the Land of Blood and Honey” directed by Angelina Jolie, the Serb entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) will not be screening the film due to “lack of public interest”.
Film distributor Vladimir Ljevak said he did not think Jolie’s film would attract a profitable audience in Republika Srpska (RS) because it portrays Serbs as villains.
The film tells about a tragic love between a Serb and a Bosniak woman during the 1990s conflict in BiH. The movie opened to limited release in December in BiH, and is now being released globally. In Southeast Europe, it opens February 23rd in Serbia and February 24th in Turkey.
Vladimir Ljevar, director of the Palace cinema — the largest in RS — confirmed that the film will not appear in the entity, because, as he said, there is a “very small interest by the audience”. He told SETimes that he watched the film.
“If you are asking me for the quality of the film, I can tell you that it’s been a while since I saw something worse than that movie. A first-year student directing at the Banja Luka’s Academy would have done a better job. But I emphasise that the reasons for not playing the movie are just the lack of interest. Nothing else,” Ljevar told SETimes.
The RS Ministry of Education and Culture said that they have no input as to what is shown in cinemas.
“The ministry has never banned any film from showing in the RS. The law on cinematography doesn’t allow us to in any way influence the business decisions of distributors of films in the RS. Accordingly, we could not have an impact on the decision not to show the movie,” ministry spokesperson Branka Rogac told SETimes.
RS citizens have mixed reactions.
Nikola Gaco, 28, lives in East Sarajevo, in RS, says that the movie is provocative and was made to raise tensions in BiH.
“It’s disgusting. [Jolie] doesn’t know a thing about this country. The story that is against the Serbs was already told a thousand times so this is nothing new. I heard that the film didn’t earn a cent. That says it all. If this was a good movie, people would watch it,” Gaco told SETimes.
Gordana Tomic, 31, from Banja Luka tells SETimes that she’s not interested in the film at all.
“I think people in the RS and BiH have enough problems that are much more serious than a movie. I didn’t watch the movie — and do not intend to watch it — because I think it is totally unnecessary,” Tomic stressed.
But Manja Kerezovic, 34, from Banja Luka says that she watched the film and that the events seemed realistic.
“I don’t know what’s with all that noise about this film. The movie is totally regular, maybe a little tragic for my taste, but realistic and cautionary. I will surely recommend to my friends,” Kerezovic told SETimes.
However, Jolie’s film did have a premiere of sorts in RS on Sunday. Ana Vidovic from Prijedor showed the film in her apartment. She invited people via her Facebook page.
“I decided to illegally download the movie and make a premiere since it became obvious that we live under the ‘Dictatorship of Nationalism’. This was a small contribution to the fight against the ever growing censorship in our state, and especially in the RS,” Vidovic wrote on her Facebook page.
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