IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND MONEY:
meditations on the dread allegorical Zone Wars
in the film art of Angelina Jolie
by Gary W. Wright
Like most film artists today, Angelina Jolie used her film art to address the dread allegorical Zone Wars that broke out after the fatal helicopter crash around 2:20 am in the early morning hours of July 23, 1982 on the George Folsey jr. produced John Landis set of the Frank Marshall executive produced, Kathleen Kennedy associate produced, and Landis and Steven Spielberg produced and allegorical Landis, Spielberg, Joe Dante and George Miller film, TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (1983). An interest in taking on the dread allegorical Zone Wars that that was implicitly affirmed by Jolie’s first moving and unflinching allegorical film, IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY (2011).
‘My name is Danijel Vukojevich. I am a criminal of war.’
Indeed, Jolie implied another layer of meaning throughout this moving and unflinching look at the callously violent and rapacious war in Bosnia during the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early to mid-Nineties. For Serbian police Captain Danijel Vukojevich-played by Goran Kostic-was implicitly linked to James Cameron throughout the film. Indeed, not only did he resemble a young Cameron, his surname, Vukojevich, evoked L.A. police detective Hal Vukovich-played by Lance Henriksen-one of the doomed police officers gunned down in their divisional headquarters by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s remorseless and time travelling cyborg CSSM-101 Terminator in the twilit and allegorical film, THE TERMINATOR (1984), affirming the implicit link of Vukojevich to Cameron. The scenes of fighting in the ruins of Sarajevo reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in Cameron, evoking the memories of future battles against the pitiless blockbuster machines seen in THE TERMINATOR and the allegorical and implicitly David Lynch addressing Cameron film, TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY (1991).
Thus, the implication was that Captain Vukojevich’s attempt to save the attractive young Moslem painter and civilian prisoner, Ajla Ekmecic-who resembled a young and beautiful Margart Trudeau, affirming the film’s implicit interest in Canada and its film artists, and played by Zana Marjanovic-from rape and murder during the Bosnian War symbolized the attempt of Cameron to save film art from being raped and killed by the equally vengeful and vicious film artists of the dread allegorical Zone Wars. Indeed, the fact that one of Captain Vukojevich’s fellow police officers was surnamed Darko-played by Nikola Djuricko-affirmed the implicit Zone War film artist addressing intent of the film, as the surname evoked the twilit and allegorical Richard Kelly film, DONNIE DARKO (2001). Alas, the fact that Captain Vukojevich angrily and despondently killed Marjanovic, in the end, implied that Jolie felt that Cameron had not just failed to save film art, but had personally killed film art, no doubt with the increasing size and budgets of his films-particularly the twilit and allegorical film, AVATAR (2009)-a truly titanic and computer generated imagery (CGI) enhanced size and price which had killed off small and inexpensive film art and much of the medium sized films as studios increased the size and budgets of their films to compete with Cameron. A competition with Cameron that Jolie continued when she embraced the same epic and CGI enhanced size and traded civilian prisoners of war for military prisoners of war in her next unflinching, embattled and moving allegorical film, UNBROKEN (2014), inspired by Unbroken (2010) by Laura Hillenbrand.
‘Forgive the sin. Smile on the sinner. Accept the darkness.
Live through the night. Love thine enemy.’
Embattled was the word, as the film focussed on an enactment of the story of real life American Berlin Olympics track star and USAAF bombardier, Louis ‘Louie’ Zamperini-played by Jack O’Connell-and how he survived an oceanic crash in the Pacific War and imprisonment in the Japanese run Omori Detention Camp and the Naoetsu Prison Camp, despite the brutal treatment he received from its commanding officer, first Corporal, and then Sergeant, Mutsuhiro ‘the Bird’ Watanabe-played by Miyavi. Curiously, by the time Louie and the blonde pilot of his bomber, ‘Phil’ Phillips-played by Domhnall Gleeson-the sole survivors of the crash of their plane, were found floating on the Pacific in their yellow rubber dinghy by a Japanese naval vessel, the two resembled King Arthur and Patsy-played by Graham Chapman and Terry Gilliam, respectively-in the allegorical and implicitly New Hollywood bashing Gilliam and Terry Jones film, MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1974). This resemblance to King Arthur and Patsy reminded us that one of the gunners on their bomber was named Lambert-played by Marcus Vanco-a surname that often popped up in the allegorical MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS telefilm series (1967-1790). This implied that Louis ‘Louie’ Zamperini and his embattled life symbolized Terrence ‘Terry’ Gilliam and all of the battles Gilliam had to fight in order to make his madcap and original animaction film art in the dread Zone Wars, particularly after the failure of the allegorical and implicitly Spielberg roasting film, THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN (1988).
Indeed, the sight of another POW, Blackie-played by Ross Anderson-playing a kind and helpful fairy godmother complete with magic wand who came to the aid of a discouraged third POW, Fitzgerald-played by Garrett Hedlund-dressed as Cinderella in a play put on at the Omori Detention Camp reaffirmed the implicit Gilliam addressing intent of the film, for it reminded us of the equally kind and helpful female fairy-usually played by Eric Idle-who came to the aid of those in need with a ping of ‘her’ magic wand in the MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS telefilm series and in the allegorical Ian MacNaughton film, AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT (1971). The fact that the film was co-written by Richard LaGravenese, the screenwriter of the allegorical and implicitly Lucas and Spielberg roasting Gilliam film, THE FISHER KING (1991), reaffirmed the implicit intent of UNBROKEN. As such, given that Zamperini survived all of his triumphs and disasters, Jolie implied her sympathetic support for Gilliam in UNBROKEN. In addition, given that the film’s intercutting of Zamperini’s travails in World War II with nostalgic memories of his pre-war youth evoked the similar embattled present intercut with memories of the past structure of the allegorical and implicitly Gilliam roasting Sean Penn film, INTO THE WILD (2006), Jolie also implied that she was not just coming to the support of Gilliam but replying to INTO THE WILD and roasting Penn in the form of the Zamperini abusing Bird in UNBROKEN. Indeed, the surname of Zamperini reminded us that Christopher ‘Chris’ McCandless, the anti-establishment and implicitly Gilliam linked young wanderer of INTO THE WILD, adopted the Louie Zamperini evoking alias of Alex Supertramp after cutting ties with family and society and heading out on his own epic travels, implicitly affirming that Jolie responded to INTO THE WILD with UNBROKEN. Allegorical meditations that implicitly continued when the director, now calling herself Angelina Jolie Pitt, turned away from the epic and CGI enhanced scale of UNBROKEN to the smaller, more intimate and effects free melodrama of her next film, BY THE SEA (2015).
Significantly, given that the steamy film revolved around the anguish of Vanessa-played by Jolie Pitt-over her inability to successfully conceive two children with her writer husband, Roland-played by Brad Pitt-the implication was that Jolie Pitt used BY THE SEA to deal with the failure of IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY and UNBROKEN to be smash hits-a fate that also befell BY THE SEA. Her jealous admiration of the ability of the Sarah Polley resembling young French newlywed, Lea-played by Melanie Laurent-to conceive with her young husband, Francois-played by Melvil Poupaud-also implied that Jolie Pitt envied the success of the film art of Polley. Or was the jealous admiration directed at Kathryn Bigelow, given that the film evoked her curious allegorical film, THE WEIGHT OF WATER (2000), which featured Polley as the troubled and homicidal young Norwegian wife, Maren Hontvedt, murderous monster of Hollywood cadenced Smuttynose Island? At any rate, BY THE SEA and the rest of the allegorical film art of Jolie had made a mark, for Taika Waititi implicitly linked her to the despondent and rebellious Valkyrie aka Scrapper 142-played by Tessa Thompson-defender of implicitly Hollywood linked Asgard, in his allegorical and implicitly James Cameron satirizing film, THOR: RAGNORAK (2017).
Indeed, a flashback late in the film that saw Val mourn the loss of a fellow Valkyrie-her blonde hair linking her to Hollywood-in her first battle with the implicitly Bigelow linked scourge of Asgard and Norse goddess of Death, Hela-played by Kate Blanchett-affirmed the implicit link of Val to Jolie. For the flashback reminded us that Jolie’s first cinematic salvo, IN THE LAND OF BLOOD AND HONEY, was soon crushed by Bigelow’s all conquering and implicitly Landis addressing film, ZERO DARK THIRTY (2012). It was timely implicit support, and hopefully would inspire Jolie to send another allegorical dispatch to audiences from deep inside twilit and haunted Hollywood, in the land of blood and money.