'Blood and Honey' Is Cathartic for Bosniak Actor

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Vanesa Glodjo, a film actor and Bosniak survivor of the war, says having a role in Angelina Jolie's "In the Land of Blood and Honey" brought catharsis. Now, she writes, war wounds that were too-tightly bandaged by silence have a chance to heal.

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Incomprehensible Violence

As an actor in this film, I had to capture and present the experiences of those who lived the war. The violence that was done to our nation was nearly incomprehensible. I knew I had a moral responsibility to get it right.

I was not raped during the war, but many suffered this torment. I had a responsibility to my country, and to all those harmed by the war, to be a part of "In the Land of Blood and Honey."

When I read the script, the scenes of rape and brutality were overwhelming. I could hardly read through to the end, it was so emotional. Each page I turned, each new scene I read, each character I encountered, made me think to myself: "This is going to be like ripping my skin off to do it."

An actor has some initial doubts about a demanding role: "Am I up to this huge challenge? Do I have the strength, talent and knowledge to get it right?" I knew I had to be. I owed it to my country; to help Bosnia Herzegovina start talking about the war.

We needed to see this film; we needed to relive what happened to us.

When you are living through extreme circumstances such as the Bosnian war, you don't truly see it. You are just trying to survive. Snipers could hit you at any minute when you leave your house and walk down the street. Grenades can blow your house to bits.

Amid this, you are not processing or understanding. You just want to live to see another minute, another hour, another day.

The movie changed me, and I think it will change you. It's a necessary and powerful film. It challenges us with what we lived through. It's critical to remember the pain, go through it again and finally let at least some of it go.


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Vanesa Glodjo was born in Sarajevo in 1974. She was living in the city during her late adolescence for the duration of the Bosnian War and was wounded during that time. She graduated from the Sarajevo Academy of Performing Arts in 1997. Glodjo has worked steadily in both film and TV in Sarajevo, including a role in Jasmila Zbanic's 2006 film, "Grbavica: The Land of my Dreams." She currently lives in Sarajevo.

For more information:

In the Land of Blood and Honey: Vanesa Glodjo video:

Voices and Perspectives on War videos:

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