ANTE BABAJA (1927-2010) (1)
The Birch Tree – film that never fades
The text describes the structure of Babaja’s feature film Breza (The Birch Tree, 1967)– from narrative specificities, through photography subtleties, to the symbolic weight of individual characters and relationships between them. Explaining the meaning of the triangle Janica – Marko Labudan – Joža Sveti, the author draws complex conclusions about the structure of the world. At the same time, the naturalism of the mud and wrinkled faces of the peasants is highly aestheticized in the hands of the skilled director of photography Tomislav Pinter. Fatalism and pessimism, most evident in Janica’s destiny, imbue the whole story. For example, the scene in which Janica is being cured by means of pagan rituals can be understood as a direct announcement of death and the macabre counting rhyme Jedna pura dva pandura revives in Labudan’s consciousness a montage sequence with scenes from previous parts of the film. Furthermore, it is interesting to see that Marko Labudan is actually the main character in the film, his relationship with Janica is actually logical (their appearance and their behaviour are different from those of others), and his final transformation, in which he becomes aware of his loss after the encounter with a birch tree, is prepared in a gradual and meticulous manner by way of a skilled narration.