FOREST: I was born in Yugoslavia. The countless hands of Youth Work Actions built the new country’s transport infrastructure, its bloodlines; they planted the forest so that its young body could breathe, its blood circulate, to strengthen the heart, stimulate the body to grow, regenerate itself, rejoice. I came out of a notion of natural and social revival by using the power of the collective body that shaped the body of the new federal state.
— from “It Rains Differently”, written by Dušica Dražić, Tanja Šljivar, and Mirjana Dragosavljević
The film “It Rains Differently” is a portrait of a forest as a fictional character. It is a meditation on collective labor, on imaginary that fulfills itself through the form of Forest that is in constant making and only through that manages to persist all the changes. Forest as a transnational, political, social and cultural collective entity.
This Forest was created on the karst Pešter plateau in southwestern Serbia, not far from the Kosovo border. Every summer between 1973 and 1988 thousands of young people from all over the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia volunteered for reforestation. The labor was organized through Youth Work Actions, bringing new generations together in the spirit of Brotherhood and Unity. My late father, Milutin Dražić, was the leading forest engineer of this project. He was a witness of the long-term dedication, (volunteer) labor, care and trust (or belief) in the social and political imaginary that are outside the conditions of consumption.
Forty years later 150.000 ha of mature Forest dominate the landscape. Despite all the societal changes that unfolded — the collapse of the country, wars, privatizations, ecocides. Despite all the secrets buried within her (Forest).
“It Rains Differently” steps away from the symbolic realm, producing a new forest while producing the film. In summer volunteers gather once again on the Pešter plateau, but this time they are there not only to plant a new forest, but to participate in the collective making of this film.
Produced by: Escautville
Co-produced by: Out of Sight
Development of the film supported by: Flemish Audiovisual Fund (VAF), Forest Encounters — European cooperation project (2023–25) co-funded by the European Union, Forest Institute Belgrade, STUK, MORPHO