Angelina Jolie: If you aren’t being ‘useful’ then ‘you’ll have quite an empty life’
First They Killed My Father was not nominated for the Best Foreign Film Oscar, so I was concerned that we wouldn’t see Angelina Jolie at the Oscars this year. But I keep forgetting that Angelina executive produced the animated film The Breadwinner, which was Oscar nominated in the animated category. So… will we see Angie at the Oscars? Fingers crossed. And if she’s going to the Oscars as part of an Oscar-nominated film, why not have her present an award too? Anyway, to do some last-minute hustling for The Breadwinner, Jolie and director Nora Twomey did a joint interview with Deadline. Some of the quotes are interesting – you can read the full piece here, and here are some highlights:
Jolie on why she wanted to produce The Breadwinner: “I wanted to work with Nora, and the book was special to my children, so I already knew the story. I have spent a lot of time in Pakistan, Afghanistan, with Afghan people. I have a love and respect for Afghan people, and I thought, “How wonderful that there would be something relatable, like animation, that can tell something as heavy as this story through the eyes of a child, in this unique art form.”
On why she is part of two films, The Breadwinner and First They Killed My Father, about little girls in warzones: “I think the fact that young girls in war are the most vulnerable people on earth.”
Whether those stories are particularly resonant during the #MeToo era: “I think if both of these films maybe highlight anything, it’s not just the vulnerability of women, but that this is not a “today issue.” This has been an issue for a very, very long time. There have been people fighting this battle for a long time, and there are little girls like Parvana, on the border of Myanmar, who are being raped, today, and not enough is being done. Not enough is being spoken about on their behalf. This little girl, Parvana, and what she went through, and the fact that over half the girls in Afghanistan still don’t have an education, and how dangerous their lives are, and how much poverty they live in, also just illustrates the bigger, global problems women are facing.
How she balances life, career & social activism: “I think that’s life, isn’t it? I’m sure you’re the same as a person. You have your creative, and you have your work, and every day of your life is going to be about somehow growing as a person. Somehow feeling you can contribute to the extent that you can get tribute. Nora and I, when we spend time alone, spend most of our time just talking about being moms, and I think that’s the balance. We’re all trying to find balance, as people. I think to be a balanced person, you have to find those things that you just purely enjoy. But, of course, if you aren’t participating in the bigger picture of life, and in being somehow useful, and you aren’t doing something and growing, then really, you’ll find you’re not very happy. Really, you’ll have quite an empty life.
I’m already seeing the headlines: “Angelina Jolie SLAMS non-activists as having ‘quite an empty life’.” Or perhaps “Angelina Jolie says if you aren’t balancing kids, a career and social work, you have an empty life.” Is that what she’s really saying though? I don’t think so. I think she was really just saying… everyone feels the push-pull of different things and it’s about finding balance and growing as a person as you move through life instead of living a life of social, professional and personal entropy.
And this: “young girls in war are the most vulnerable people on earth.” God that made me sad. It’s true though.