RUST explores the decay of time, man and industry using powerful, impressionistic narrative and drama to tell the story of one 1920’s iron ore miner and his son.
The film falls between past, present, and future using colour to set place and time, black and white to place time in memories and a combination of both as time looks towards the future and back to the past.
Set in Autumn, the film begins deep in the rust-coloured forest as an old man walks along train tracks, examining the oxidised remains of an industry that he had long left behind.
We see a hint of his current life as we move between his almost empty home and the tracks that lead to a disused iron ore mine.
In the house, the old man sitting in an old wooden chair, rocks purposefully, starring at a photo of a man and boy. The man is him from a time that until now, lay frozen and deep in his mind and, the boy is his son.
We move from the photo to the 1920’s with the miner as a younger, stronger man. Working from dawn to dusk, the conditions in the mine are punishing, even for a strong, fit, experienced man, but with his son now of age, it is time to share the tracks, the trains, and the iron ore veins with his eldest son.
The miner and son share bread and conversation, before walking between the sleepers towards the train. It’s a happy scene, as we watch the son’s boyish gait juxtaposed with the strong, confident walk of the man.
Sitting now in silence on a train, they are apprehensive, yet resolute as they are driven along the hard metal tracks into the mouth of the mine.
Far beyond the light of the autumn sun, eager to learn and without any tools of his own, the son watches his father as he picks and hacks and digs at the veins and capillaries of the rocks.
With no sense of time, the father, works tirelessly, he’s focused to get enough ‘commodity’ before the day is done. But then, with a sense of foreboding, the miner takes his lamp looking deep into the mine for his son.
Then follows an explosion from inside the mine. Through the smoke, the miner is seen carrying a body into the light, then, falling to his knees, laying it on the tracks. The tracks that once carried the young life of his son, now becomes a metal cradle for the lifeless body and the miner cries in pain. This is the last time he will ever cry.
The miner, now old and apathetic to the pain and the questions of what went wrong; through years of tortured silence, he is now ready to return to the mine that took his son. As the film echoes between past and present and a blend between the two, we see the miner and the old man bound to a time from which there is no breaking from. They walk away to the autumn forest for one last time.