Copyright 2002 Associated Press

[ March 14th 2002 ]

Ethiopian officials have complained that a movie starring Angelina Jolie being filmed in Namibia gives a biased portrayal of their country. Ethiopia lodged a complaint with the Namibian government, saying Beyond Borders only shows the 1984 drought and starvation in the country and none of the progress made since then.

In the film, Jolie falls in love with a doctor who travels to Cambodia, Chechnya and Ethiopia to help war victims. Scenes for the movie are being shot in Namibia instead of Ethiopia, both countries have similar terrain, because at the time filming was being considered in Ethiopia, the country was at war with neighboring Eritrea.

The portrayal of happenings of 1984 in the film does not reflect the true image of Ethiopia today," said Tegenaw Goshu, spokesman of the Ethiopian embassy in South Africa. Goshu also said producers had not been willing to work with organizations in Ethiopia that would have helped put the country's story in context. "The portrayal of negative images about Ethiopia does not help the whole of Africa; the media should strive to include a positive image of our continent," Goshu said.

There was no immediate reaction from the Namibian government Thursday. Jolie, who serves as a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said she had been wanting to shoot the film for three years, and that the script was one of the best she had ever seen.

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