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Capone found writer-director Angelina Jolie's rape-infused IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY upsetting but often moving.

Hey everyone. Capone in Chicago here.

I'll say one thing for Angelina Jolie, when she selected the subject of her writing-directing debut, she didn't pull any punches in selecting the unspeakably brutal subject of the Bosnian War of the 1990s, which forever changed the face of the Balkan region, due in large part to rape being used by the Bosnian Serb Army as a weapon of female submission. Say what you will about the depiction of rape in any film, but Jolie does not flinch when it comes to not only showing it but also to making it painfully clear that any time a man and a woman are in the same room together at any point in this film, the threat of rape is in the room with them. It makes for a sickening but highly effective film-watching experience.

IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY actually begins as a story of new love in pre-war Bosnia, in this case between Serb Danijel (Goran Kostic) and Ajla (Zana Marjanovic), a beautiful Muslim artist, who meet in a club which is subsequently bombed while their seduction is in full swing. Months later, after the ethnic conflict has begun, they meet again after Ajla is rounded up with other women and held captive, essentially as sex slaves for the Serbian soldiers. When Danijel spots her, he immediately lets it be known that she belongs to him. He is the commanding officer and the son of an important general (Rade Serbedszija), so his underlings obey him assuming he wants to only have sex with her. In fact, he protects her, they talk, and he allows her to draw and paint in private. Because of who he is, she is extremely distrustful of him, but eventually she breaks down, and the two have something approximating a relationship, albeit a secret one.

If the whole story seems a tad bit creepy, that's because it is. IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY is a perplexing tale in which we're never quite sure who to empathize with. Of course, we feel for the women being brutalized by the Serbs, but they are almost pushed to the side once this love affair is rekindled. I wanted to identify on some level with Ajla, who really has no choice but to submit to this usually kind man for survival's sake. I think Jolie even wants us to feel for Danijel, who is put in an impossible situation and does his best to protect this woman he cares about. But I felt little doubt that he would have sacrificed her in a heartbeat if it meant not getting caught. But perhaps this shady morality is part of what makes this movie compelling. I actually enjoyed feeling conflicted, and for better or worse, this is a film that one can never accuse of being boring or sentimental.

But other than an authentic history lesson, I'm not exactly sure what we're supposed to learn or take away from IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY. There are vague condemnations of the outside world refusing to intervene, but the United Nations failing to act on behalf of humanitarian needs is nothing new. And by focusing on this single relationship, I think Jolie loses the opportunity to give a true sense of the scope of these atrocities.

There's a scene near the beginning of the film where a woman is pulled out of a lineup of women shortly after they arrive in the building where they are being held. With barely a change of expression, her captor rips her clothes off and rapes her on a table in front of all the other women, who avert their eyes as quickly as they can but can still hear the woman's crying and screams. It's a shocking moment that will forever be burned in my brain, but the emotional and dramatic weight of the scene is never equalled again in the movie, nor does Jolie capitalize on the stark reality she has just forced us to face. I'm not sure I can recommend the film to everyone; it's simply too harsh for even the strongest of us. But there is no denying the Jolie is a fearless filmmaker who with pure guts makes up for what she may lack in cinematic sophistication. I think she'll get better behind the camera if she continues to direct, and IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY does what it sets out to accomplish, even if what it accomplishes is extremely difficult to witness.

-- Steve Prokopy
"Capone"
capone@aintitcool.com
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Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 6, 2012, 1:49 a.m. CST

    foist?

    by surprider22

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 1:55 a.m. CST

    Oh another one rape movie.cant wait.

    by KilliK

    need tissues too.

  • in Vietnam and more recently in Middle East.will need more tissues too.

  • FUCK.!!! that sounds even better than Serbian Film or Irreversible.

  • sappy pablum, the usual crapone rubbish

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 2:12 a.m. CST

    =what we're supposed to learn or take away=

    by KilliK

    nothing.it is a cheap way that Jolie used to advertise her directional/writing debut.She made a shocking and disturbing film which is based on real historical events of the recent past in order to get some publicity. The repulsive shock value of the film and the included politics,will cause stirring among the film critics,the news media and the cinephil audience and as a result it will be talked about and maybe won an award or two if it is decent. Clever girl.i would prefer to see her getting raped in her film though.FUCK.

  • BINGO.that's precisely what i was talking about in my above post.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 3:07 a.m. CST

    Why is this being reviewed now?

    by Bass Ackwards

    Didn't this movie already come and go in the theaters?

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 3:40 a.m. CST

    Nope I'm wrong

    by Bass Ackwards

    Just looked it up, only has had a limited release so far. Could have sworn it had already come out, whoops!

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 3:59 a.m. CST

    Killik

    by t_allen

    Please shut the hell up. Just please stop trolling. As a former member of the US Army, shit like what you claim is not normal. Criminals get what they deserve and more if they are in uniform. Until you know what you are talking about just keep trolling or just shut the hell up. And don't link some Wikipedia article saying you are right.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 4:03 a.m. CST

    @t_allen ok

    by KilliK

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 4:47 a.m. CST

    Tentacle rape is best!

    by godoffireinhell

    Maybe Jolie should direct that $200 million tentapole live-action version of UROTSUKIDOJI that Hollywood knows will have to be made eventually...

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 5:20 a.m. CST

    godoffireinhell you HACK! Stop stealing my ideas!

    by UGG

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 6:02 a.m. CST

    Killik is one of AICN's resident shitferbrains

    by eveelcapitalist

    I don't think he's ever spoken anything of value so much as vomited up his stupidity for all the world to gaze at in awe. If not for anonymity, this asshole would mocked relentlessly, if not beaten mercilessly.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 6:03 a.m. CST

    godoffireinhell

    by eveelcapitalist

    Man, I'd see that movie. Twice!

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 6:22 a.m. CST

    Can't understand Bane? Neither can Conan O'Brien lol

    by Dhaemon

    http://www.cnn.com/video/?hpt=hp_c2#/video/bestoftv/2012/01/05/conan-batman-villain-impossible-to-understand.tbs

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 6:25 a.m. CST

    religion is the the root of all motherfucking evil

    by rakesh patel

    but hey, there wasn't any oil or minerals there so why would the west be involved.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 6:47 a.m. CST

    authentic history lesson

    by brobdingnag

    Gotta love liberal collectivists who get their period over fox news on one hand but think Hollywood is dishing out authentic history lessons.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 7:22 a.m. CST

    Surprise surprise This is getting bashed without any of you seeing it

    by Monolith_Jones

    Never had a chance with Jolie's name on it.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 7:46 a.m. CST

    creepythin..

    by paul burnett

    ..holy shits, you're right, i never realised how much bad to mediocre her output has been. She's either really lucky or a fuckin jinx...i'm not sure. Oh an Capone...you had me at RAPE INFUSED.

  • Killik, is this an example of your insight? =I hope they make the sequel.the one with the US military raping women= My father is a Vietnam vet and spent years dealing this these stereotypical perceptions. Has it occured to you that several talkbackers that read your stupid, insensitive comments are active duty military? Several of whom have served and continue to serve to keep your pathetic ass safe and cozy?? I don't like to make a habit of singling out know-nothing talkbackers who bring nothing of value to the conversation (not enough time in the day) but for you I feel compelled to make an exception. If you deleted your account and never contributed and word, AICN would be a better place. And unlike Chauncey, I seriously doubt anyone would come to your defense. Let's see a raise of hands. No? Okay then. We're in agreement. Go away.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 7:48 a.m. CST

    'Land of Rape and Honey' was already taken I suppose.

    by Pat

    This seemingly "rape-centric" piece says a lot about Ms. Jolie. Would like to be a fly on the membrane wall of her psyche but for a minute. Oh and poor, poor Brad. He must get raped all the time. I imagine both of them standing in the kitchen, putting the finishing touches on the Thanksgiving tofurkey, Brad trembling at the specter of rape at any given moment. She looks at him ever so slowly, knife in hand, and with the slightest squint of her eyes he flinches. Oh he got off easy this time...but may not be so lucky the next.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 7:59 a.m. CST

    Jolie...

    by Kill List Hammertime

    ...can rape me anytime she wants. And to say she's ugly is insane. She may be a lot of things, but ugly? Nope. Also, Beowulf was good.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 8:09 a.m. CST

    Still think she shoulda been catwoman.

    by Kill List Hammertime

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 8:12 a.m. CST

    A rape themed TB, and no Choppah?

    by Joaquin_Ondamoon

    And on 'Fudgepack Friday'? Quickly, check the hospitals - call the local Emergency Rooms! I'll organize a search party!

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 8:14 a.m. CST

    But we never assume that everything is 100% true or accurate

    by brobdingnag

    <snigger>

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 8:24 a.m. CST

    Jolie's Intentions Are Honorable I think

    by Stewart Wolfe

    I just hope she's not out of her depth. It's a contentious subject, this conflict and you have to strike a right balance without the picture becoming biased or a polemic. There's an excellent movie called 'No Man's Land' made in 2001 which deals with this conflict, too, and it's very affecting and moving to watch. Like I say, I don't doubt her intentions and, in fairness, I haven't seen the movie yet. But hats off to her for at least attempting such a taxing subject for her debut feature.

  • That movie made me ashamed of being a member of the male gender. But why do I still love to watch Pulp Fiction over and over ??? ...I wonder....

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 8:45 a.m. CST

    So this isn't a good date movie?

    by cameron

  • Rape murder war, i get more than enough of that on the tv news, cheer up Angie for fuck's sake!!

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 10:10 a.m. CST

    Not getting any bites on the Raiders talkback, Ultra?

    by P

    Keep trying. Perhaps the art-house roundup? Or Harry's DVD column? I'm sure you can find someone to play with.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Rohypnol...rape drug!!!

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Rape...the other white meat.

    by Tikidonkeypunch

    Rape...it's what's for dinner.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 11:03 a.m. CST

    FACT...

    by Amfpsych

    Is the new gay.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 11:26 a.m. CST

    I was Raped Once. Once

    by Choohoo

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 11:26 a.m. CST

    My grandmother raped me once. Once

    by Choohoo

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 11:34 a.m. CST

    At least Jolie took a risk

    by D o o d

    unlike mega directors like Fincher. Saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo couple of days ago. It's a well made movie but it makes you think why would an A list director make a movie that was already done and done better with a lower budget! I'll go see Jolie's movie, if only for the originality and for taking the risk in doing something different!

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 11:38 a.m. CST

    @zombie_fatigue ok

    by KilliK

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 11:53 a.m. CST

    When are we going to get Hackers 2?

    by v3d

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 1:45 p.m. CST

    Thank Goodness Choppah's here...

    by Joaquin_Ondamoon

    It's not a proper rape-infused TB without him! RAPED!

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 1:47 p.m. CST

    As for Fudgepack Friday....

    by Joaquin_Ondamoon

    I'm betting Ms. Jolie bends over Mr. Pitt-Jolie and has her way with his balloon knot over at least once a week, you know, when Clooney's not giving it a thorough waxing.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 1:57 p.m. CST

    Um...so the story is engaging because of the rape

    by torontoxic

    But is this movie actually shot well? I'm not hearing much other than she was able to place a camera in front of some actors with a script and yell action.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Great, Another Serbian Film.

    by Stalkeye

    Sick fucks.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 2:31 p.m. CST

    I figure capone has found his best movie for next year

    by Xiphos_2

    and for the second decade of this century. Unless there is something even more rapey coming down the line.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Fudge Pack Friday

    by Xiphos_2

    Joilie attacks turd cutters(men's and women's) in the same way a shark attacks a wounded seal, hard fast and decisive.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 2:58 p.m. CST

    Choppah it's a known fact

    by Xiphos_2

    That Jolie can scent a fragrant ass up to a mile away.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 3:44 p.m. CST

    Was going to say ...

    by DrMorbius

    that I hope Jolies next rape victim would be killik. Then remembered he's Greek so ... mission accomplished!!!

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 3:54 p.m. CST

    Do tattoos turn off Iranian rapists....?

    by cookylamoo

    like if you have Mohammad's picture on your ass.

  • ...in fact, a large part of her decision to tackle the subject matter in her directorial debut was due to a personal quest to push the boundaries of anal knowledge. Ms. Joile has reached that magical age, where a woman's inhibitions melt away as quickly as the Hersey's Kisses her brother used to lovingly push into her otherwise neglected puckered pink teenaged pooper. Deep in the heart of New Orleans she prowls the jazz clubs; a huntress on a mission, her nubile chocolate skinned prey unaware of her darker needs and blinded by her beauty and celebrity. In dark corners she seduces them...her full moist lips softly touching her victims lobes as her hot moist breath washes over their neck, whispering promises of the sweet eroticism, the most sublime of sexual pleasures. Softly her teeth grasp and pull at the soft flesh of the beauties neck, her hot liquored tongue flicking gently on her preys pulse point, then lips touch, tongues entwine and the sex flows between the thighs of both. How quickly the change then when they arrive at Villa de Jolie to find her strangely feminine cuckold tied firm to the wall...7 years in Tibet did not an ascetic make of Pitt, but 7 years under the spell of Angelina did help him find his religion...a religion devoted to Angelina's most perverse and depraved desires. The ebony Beauties eye widen at the site, the helpless look of films most beautiful man subdued, the ball gag firm..., but the fear comes only when Jolie produces her custom Serbian made double entry strap-on, the 1/4" brass studs along it's 11" length of steel and leather shimmering in the dim candle light. The doors locked, Angelina's compassion-less eyes locked in a gaze of carnal fury on the luscious onion of her new toy; she pulls hard at her own child toughened nipples...and breathes deep. She can smell the fear...she can smell the sweet scent of the Nubian girls dark ring piece as the sweat runs over it... ...Angelina thinks back to her brothers fumbling explorations, the vials of blood, the Serbian experience...and as she grabs her toys hair and wheels her around over the hard leather couch, forcing her majestic, curve defining ass into the air whispers to herself,as she often does, that indeed dreams do come true.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 6:02 p.m. CST

    Wow

    by Kill List Hammertime

    Just... Wow

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 6:08 p.m. CST

    Thanks Chop...not my best work...busy here...

    by conspiracy

    but I had a spare 10 minutes to bang that out. hehehe...Bang that Out...ummmmm....

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 6:13 p.m. CST

    Conspiracy

    by Kill List Hammertime

    YOU should be directing the star wars porn

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 6:41 p.m. CST

    jaygarnham...I'll take that as a compliment...lol

    by conspiracy

    ...Not sure the Porn industry is ready for my vision yet...they need to loosen up a bit, far too prudish right now. ;)

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 6:50 p.m. CST

    Yeah the pansies, one day they'll be ready...

    by Kill List Hammertime

  • ...and amazingly they've stuck with that slogan.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 8:29 p.m. CST

    soundtrack by MINISTRY?

    by Tigger Tales

    probably not.

  • Jan. 6, 2012, 11:51 p.m. CST

    Bah, Jolie obviously has been drinking the koolaid the media has been propagating

    by DanielnocharismaCraig

    Most of so called atrocities commited by Serbian forces during that era turned out to be the worst kind of falsified propaganda by Albanian forces. Many of whom later on were found out to have DIRECT links to Al-Qaeda! Remember that "genocide" Serbian forces were commiting against the Albanians in 99'? That turned out to be false to the extreme as at the MOST, hundreds of Albanians had perished in that conflict. A tragedy to be sure, but genocide??????? And these further baseless accusations of mass rape................beyond the pale. Like Serbian men couldn't attract any women in their own homelands so they had to rape some swarthy looking Albanian. Yeah right.

  • Jan. 7, 2012, 2 a.m. CST

    danielnocharismacraig

    by Queefer Sutherland

    I suppose the Holocaust didn't happen either. Your ignorance is a blinding beacon among shining idiots. Your knowledge of current events and recent history are as masterful as my dog's command of English. And you're probably a Serb.

  • Jan. 7, 2012, 2:01 a.m. CST

    I want Angelina Jolie to rape me

    by Queefer Sutherland

    Again and again. She can film it and make it a sequel.

  • Jan. 7, 2012, 11:59 a.m. CST

    No facts to back up your rebuttal queefer?

    by DanielnocharismaCraig

    Typical. The facts don't lie dude. http://www.nlpwessex.org/docs/kosovofalsehoods.htm http://www.newstatesman.com/200412130010 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xss0Ep1MJM&feature=related The propaganda against Serbia reached a fevered pitch in 99' with a hurricane of articles and broadcasts by CNN painting the Serbian people as little more than animals. So what happened to those followups detailing all of those supposed massgraves that CNN never got around to. They couldn't. You know why? Because those mass graves never existed! But hey, don't take my word for it. Do your own research and don't just bleet like a sheep in agreement with everything the mainstream media reports. And no, I'm not Serbian.

  • Jan. 7, 2012, 5:36 p.m. CST

    Yes, it's not 'genocide' if you don't kill EVERYONE...

    by Joaquin_Ondamoon

    ...sheesh...

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 10:23 a.m. CST

    'rape-infused' is an unfortunate construction.

    by Nerfee

    Lemon-infused... Fine. Menthol-infused... Sure. Balmy forest glade-infused... Why not? Rape-infused? Err...

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 11:44 a.m. CST

    This show would have worked if it was stop-animation.

    by MST3KPIMP

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 3:15 p.m. CST

    How the fuck is Jolie a fucking skank?

    by DVaderRIP

    What the fuck do you base that on?? Seriously, you people have got some fucking issues. She's a good actress, who hasn't had many good roles, and has been typecast into largely shitting action roles because she's a bit of an edgy chick. That's it. She's twice the actress Monica Belluci is - all Belluci does is sit there looking gorgeous - that's not an actress.

  • Jan. 8, 2012, 3:18 p.m. CST

    And as for "The Accused"...

    by DVaderRIP

    Anyway, you've got to be one sick piece of shit to sit there fapping away watching "The Accused". I'd love nothing better than to have Jodie Foster riding on my cock like a grand national jockey, but tossing off to her rape scene in the film? That's fucking twisted. You should be ashamed.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 9:18 a.m. CST

    From Pushing Tin to Pushing Agendas?

    by The Duke Of Madness

    Is there a competition between Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron going on that I don't know about. The competition must be who can be the hottest woman in Hollywood who hates men the most. 1. Charlize had the double whammy with Monster and that stuff about South African rape condoms (sort of like a rubber vagina dentate) and now Angelina has this. I think I'll watch Gia instead.

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 10:17 a.m. CST

    Some of these posts have me crying-laughing!

    by REMcycle

    ...joaquin_onthemoon, I've never heard that term "balloon knot"! I'm totally stealing it!

  • Jan. 9, 2012, 1:33 p.m. CST

    hmm...

    by Redmantle

    Most of Angie's movies HAVE been pretty bad, no classics in the bunch, though I'd argue that SHE has been pretty good in most of them- giving the role her all. I'd say that there were a few exceptions: Changeling, and the one with "Winona Ryder when they were in a mental institution.." (too lazy to google it) were pretty good. Otherwise, not so good. Mr. and Mrs. Smith was a terrible script. Tomb Raider (bleh). But Hollywood actresses have limited choices unless you're Natalie Portman or Meryl Streep- unless you're THE BEST. And she's not the best, she's pretty good and hot. So she's okay. But she's a millionaire, so nobody feel sorry for the millionaire.