Zana Marjanovic, Ermin Sijamija, In the Land of Blood and Honey
Some Serbians may be furious at Angelina Jolie and her first directorial effort, the Bosnian War drama In the Land of Blood and Honey, but the Producers Guild of America feels differently. Jolie's socially conscious film has been named the recipient of this year's Stanley Kramer Award given to “a motion picture, producer or other individual, whose achievement or contribution illuminates provocative social issues in an accessible and elevating fashion.” In In the Land of Blood and Honey, a Bosnian woman is held captive – and used as a sex slave – at a Serbian prison camp while her former lover is fighting on the side of the Serbs.
As per PGA co-presidents Hawk Koch and Mark Gordon, quoted in a press release, In the Land of Blood and Honey “is an extraordinary film that portrays a complex love story set against the terrors of the Bosnian War, especially towards women. This film truly embraces the legacy of Stanley Kramer.” The film's producers are Jolie, Tim Headington, Graham King, and Tim Moore.
So far, In the Land of Blood and Honey has been all but ignored by the various US-based critics' groups that have already named their Best of 2011. Possibly, Jolie's movie hasn't been made as widely available to critics as, say, late-year releases such as David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, both of which have managed to get several nods from the Broadcast Film Critics Association.
With dialogue in Serbo-Croatian and English subtitles, In the Land of Blood and Honey opens in the U.S. on December 23. Goran Kostic and Zana Marjanovic star. The PGA Awards ceremony will be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 21, 2012.
As for Stanley Kramer, he was a producer/director whose films tended to be quite humanistic and well-intentioned in a mainstream, inoffensive kind of way. The best of those are Inherit the Wind (1960), about the Scopes Trial that pitted radical Christians against secularism, and Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), both starring Spencer Tracy.
On another level, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) is immensely helped by the performances of both Tracy and Katharine Hepburn as the parents of a young woman (Hepburn's real-life niece Katharine Houghton) whose husband-to-be is Sidney Poitier. Also worth mentioning is that Kramer's movies solely as producer include Fred Zinnemann's post-war drama The Men (1950), which marked Marlon Brando's film debut, and Zinnemann's classic Western High Noon, which earned Gary Cooper his second Best Actor Oscar.
In the Land of Blood and Honey photo: Dean Semler / FilmDistrict and GK Films