Red Forest

video, 2012
HD 1080p, color, 5.1 surround sound, 7’18”

dedicated to
Miljenko Ružić 1923 -1943

with: Luka Ružić Marušić
sound composition:
Carole Chargueron
audio mix 5.1:
Carole Chargueron
LIMME Escuela Nacional
de Música – UNAM
color correction and
technical advisor:
Nestor Jiménez
Konjuh planinom
lyrics: Miloš Popović

Red Forest responds to a family story about my uncle´s death, who was shot as a partisan in 1943, in Mosor mountain. His comrades hid him in a pit and covered him with pine branches. After several hours, when they came back to take him to the forest, they were unable to find his body. My father, who was then ten years old, spent his life hoping that one day his brother would in fact return. Once, in 1992, walking through Mosor mountain, he found a plaque with his brother´s name. Two years later, returning to the same place, he found only broken pieces of the plaque on the soil. As a way of sublimation of this family narrative, I set up and filmed a scene in collaboration with my son Luka. In the forest, Luka plays the flute performing the famous former Yugoslav WW2 song Konjuh Planinom (In the Mountain Konjuh).                                                  

Autumn rains poured over his grave

 Heavy blizzards scattered his bones

From the red blood of Husino miner

Red-foliage forest has sprouted instead

This song, based on a Russian melody, involves an emotional space linked to the ideology of the former Yugoslavian early communist years. In verses, red colour flows from the proletarian dead body to the forest leaves as if they are one organism. Through this and other videos, I´m exploring the flow between political ideologies, bodies and landscapes, what have been widely used in military and patriotic songs. Two spaces interweaving, night windy landscape that suggests the lyrics and spring green woods filmed in Mexico (the country where we lived until 2012), echoes in another relation between the work´s title and the visible image. Red Forest indicates simultaneity of time, as opposed to the historicist conception of time as the idea of progress, now melted in a space of post-historical time. Historical utopia, and my uncle, who operates from his invisibility, appears in a phantasmagoric way through the song. Collaborating with my fourteen-year-old son Luka, his age and identity are key elements of this work. After playing, he stands silently in the landscape. The picture becomes dark and transitions to the lyrics and the sound of his surroundings.