Watching genocide unravel is never an easy movie to pick up. Angelina Jolie wrote, directed and produced In the Land of Blood and Honey based on the Bosnian war in the 90s. In an interview, Jolie explained the intrigue that brought her to write a film on what happened in Bosnia. “This was, you know, the worst genocide since World War II in Europe … What were we all doing? And did we do enough? And why do we not speak about this enough?”
The movie, as it was rumored to be, is not about a woman falling in love with her rapist. It is a startling love story between two people on different sides of the war. The man is a soldier who fights for the Bosnian Serbs, and the woman is Bosnian Muslim. Their love story begins before the war and continues through countless atrocious moments throughout the film. The dynamic between the two is so strange that at times you don’t know whether she is his prisoner or girlfriend.
At any moment throughout the film you feel like someone is going to get raped or murdered. It’s shocking to see society unravel so quickly to the point where soldiers who were civilly taking women on dates are now raping them in front of an audience of women and men. As terrible as it is to watch these things, it’s even more terrible to know that worse things happen everyday throughout the world. How many genocidal conflicts are happening right now? How many women are being raped and beaten? How many men are being killed because of their religion? The film raises these questions in the ever-present absence of the UN and the US during this conflict that ended so many lives in Bosnia.
The point of this film was to inform us about a gruesome war that many people in our country, and maybe worldwide don’t know much about. It’s not everyday that genocide is as popular as what happened in Nazi Germany, as many genocides throughout the past century have gone unnoticed by popular culture.
If you’re in the mood for a good, heart-breaking film that focuses on genocide and war, this is the film for you.