- - Monday, February 13, 2012

Jolie: Viewing her movie should be ‘uncomfortable’

Angelina Jolie said Monday that she hopes her directorial debut “In the Land of Blood and Honey” will provoke a wider discussion about rape - something the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor said could be extremely valuable in helping bring perpetrators to justice.

Ms. Jolie, who was given the Cinema for Peace group’s “honorary award for opposing war and genocide” later in the day for the movie focusing on the war in Bosnia, said she wants viewers to be “uncomfortable” when they see the film.

Ms. Jolie’s writing-directing debut hurls two lovers - a Bosnian Muslim woman and a Bosnian-Serb man - from their tender relationship before the war into the horrors of prison camps where rapes occurred.

“I believe these strong issues deserve to be presented in a very strong direct light,” Ms. Jolie, who was in Berlin for the Berlin International Film Festival, told a small group of reporters.

“It’s a strange thing to say as a director and a filmmaker, but I want people to be very uncomfortable when they watch it, and they should be upset and they should want some intervention, and they should want it to stop, and they should be angry.”

The film already has provoked the ire - but of a different kind - of the sole film distributor in the Serb-run part of Bosnia, Vladimir Ljevak, who questioned its portrayal of the Serb side of the conflict and said he would not be screening it there. Still, a small group of Muslim Bosniaks who have returned to their homes in the Serb part of the country said they instead plan to organize private showings.

The Bosnian war in the early 1990s was the first time that rape was treated as a crime against humanity, and the International Criminal Court’s Luis Moreno-Ocampo said that since then it has remained a major problem in conflict regions - but that slowly the court is finding more victims willing to come forward and tell their stories to aid in prosecutions.

Duchess of Cambridge joining queen for events

Queen Elizabeth II has a new sidekick for royal events: the Duchess of Cambridge.

The upcoming appearances with the queen mark another foray into the public eye for the former Kate Middleton, who is stepping up her royal duties while her husband Prince William is deployed as a helicopter search-and-rescue pilot in the remote Falkland Islands.

Buckingham Palace officials said Monday that the duchess will join the queen and Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, on March 1 on a visit to a new restaurant at the luxury department store Fortnum and Mason. The royals are expected to have tea at the London landmark, known for its well-stocked food hall, and unveil a plaque commemorating efforts to renovate the Piccadilly Circus neighborhood.

The following week, Prince Williams’s wife will travel to the English city of Leicester with the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, as part of Diamond Jubilee celebrations to mark the queen’s 60 years on the throne.

The duchess made her solo debut last week visiting a show of the late Lucian Freud’s paintings in London.

The queen, 85, and Philip, 90, are planning an extensive tour of the United Kingdom during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, including visits to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Prince Philip is expected to keep that schedule despite his heart scare, which required a stent over Christmas to keep his coronary arteries open.

They will not be traveling overseas as they did in earlier jubilees, but will send their children and grandchildren on official visits to many Commonwealth countries.

The festivities reach a climax in early June with a flotilla on the River Thames, a gala concert in front of Buckingham Palace and a carriage procession through the streets of London following a service of thanksgiving.

State of films in U.S. puts Thornton in director’s chair

Billy Bob Thornton said his frustration with the state of films in America prompted him to direct his first feature in more than a decade, the 1960s family drama “Jayne Mansfield’s Car.”

Mr. Thornton, 56, previously directed “All the Pretty Horses” and “Sling Blade,” which won him an Oscar for best screenplay. On Monday, he brought the new movie to the Berlin International Film Festival for its premiere - it’s one of 18 films competing for the festival’s Golden Bear award.

The cast includes Mr. Thornton himself, John Hurt, Robert Duvall and Kevin Bacon.

Set in Alabama in 1969, it depicts the clash of culture and personalities that arises after a woman who left her American husband for an Englishman years earlier dies, and her English family goes to America to fulfill her wish to be buried in her homeland. Feeding the tensions are disagreements over the conflict in Vietnam.

Mr. Thornton said the meeting of the two families offers a way into “the real subject, which is how different generations view war, how different generations are affected by war, and how that affects the family.”

“I was complaining a lot about the state of movies in America,” Mr. Thornton told reporters at the festival. So “instead of complaining, I decided to just write one and direct it, and it’s a story that I’d had in my head for a long time.”

Compiled from Web and wire service reports.