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Marija Ratkovic Vidakovic
In search of a lost country

Synopsis

In the last five years, together with her husband (42) and son (4), Marija has moved house five times. Not because she needed it, but because she wanted to - she tried to find her “own place.” Podsused - Karlovac - Podsused - Zagreb and finally Ludvika. Namely, the three of them are just moving to Ludvika. Knowing Maria, her husband is not sure it is their last destination. Marija has that “restlessness” since forever, and the circumstances have not been in her favour either. She grew up in a family that lives Yugoslav ideals even today. And when Yugoslavia disintegrated, its values and patterns of behaviour remained deeply embedded in her – not in the political, but in the social context: in her education, and in understanding herself and the world around her. Yugoslavia is something that, regardless of all disagreements, connects her mother (56), her father (59) and her younger brother (18). Since Marija and her family are Serbs who, despite t...

In the last five years, together with her husband (42) and son (4), Marija has moved house five times. Not because she needed it, but because she wanted to - she tried to find her “own place.” Podsused - Karlovac - Podsused - Zagreb and finally Ludvika. Namely, the three of them are just moving to Ludvika. Knowing Maria, her husband is not sure it is their last destination.

Marija has that “restlessness” since forever, and the circumstances have not been in her favour either. She grew up in a family that lives Yugoslav ideals even today. And when Yugoslavia disintegrated, its values and patterns of behaviour remained deeply embedded in her – not in the political, but in the social context: in her education, and in understanding herself and the world around her. Yugoslavia is something that, regardless of all disagreements, connects her mother (56), her father (59) and her younger brother (18). Since Marija and her family are Serbs who, despite the pressure, decided to stay in Croatia during the recent war, it is understandable that such way of life was the only meaningful one. All else would imply denying their own identity.

Marija simply adopted this pattern of behaviour and did not reconsider it. However, while creating her "new" family with her husband and son, she began to question it. Is this the right way of functioning? For her, for her child? Working on this film, Marija somehow tried to find herself, tried to build her own identity opposing to the "collective", according to which she was raised. By evoking memories and visiting places that marked the history of Yugoslavia and her family, she first wanted to see which of these Yugoslav ideals and values remained in her today, how they formed her as a person and her present family relationships, perhaps even caused traumas, and how they will transfer (and will they) to the new generation, to her son. In the process of seeking answers, Marija, with her husband and son, decides to leave Croatia and settle down in Ludvika - thinking that this will also solve the burden of legacy. Not only family legacy, but also the general social Balkan one which she never felt she “belonged to” – she has always been somewhat reserved and closer to a svårmod mentality. But will it be her last station? Is Sweden and the Swedish way of life really what she had always been striving to?

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