KORIDA

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by Sinisa Vidovic

grade: 6.5

Although Korida is not always perfect, at times redundant film, it is also – and above all – a sincere and passionate work that, on the whole, successfully captures a reality such as bullfighting, creating a varied and colourful fresco of a people – the Croatian people – that nevertheless proudly manages to defend its traditions and national identity.

A people’ s identity

Not only in Spain, but also in Bosnia, bullfighting is part of the oldest traditions. Here, however, it takes place in a much less bloody manner and involves only bull fighting, without the final killing of one of them. What this particular tradition means for Bosnia and its people is brought to life in pictures by the Bosnian-born but naturalised Austrian director Sinisa Vidovic in his Korida, which was already presented at the Diagonale 2016 and, following the cancellation of the Diagonale 2020, was included in the programme Diagonale 2020 – The Unfinished.

Twenty years after the end of the war in Yugoslavia, then, Sinisa Vidovic has returned to his former homeland in order to document a reality that is in danger of disappearing forever. A reality that connects and entertains and that, unlike the war, doesn’t involve the use of any weapons.

And so, Korida opens with a presentation of the film itself by one of the organisers of a local bullfight, at the opening of an event and reading out all the names of the people who took part in the making of the film. And this unique and passionate documentary, in fact, develops almost as if it were a real fictional film.

Sinisa Vidovic’s camera follows the protagonists step by step, on an unusual journey between Austria and Bosnia, without needing to make his presence and that of his camera noticeable, but simply stopping to observe the stories and tales of the characters, with moments that take on an almost sacred and highly poetic significance (this is particularly the case when we see the bulls enter the ring before the fighting, with a slow motion shot to emphasise the sacredness of the moment and to focus even more on the perfection and performance of their bodies). And if this directorial choice is not always convincing and, at times, is even almost artificial, the atmosphere of the place and the great value that an event like this has for Korida‘s protagonists is perfectly conveyed.

And Sinisa Vidovic, for his part, has managed to create a complete and sincere portrait of each of them. Of their memories, their stories and, above all, their fears. Including the fear for their own lives (as when, for example, some still unidentified criminals threw two grenades in front of the house of the organiser of one of the local bullfights).

The end result is a film that is not always perfect, sometimes even redundant, but also – and above all – a sincere and passionate work that, on the whole, successfully captures a reality such as bullfighting, creating a varied and colourful fresco of a people – the Croatian people – who, despite the still too present scars of war, despite the need to leave their homeland, nevertheless proudly manage to defend their traditions and national identity. Even finding frequent occasions for some welcome toasts.

Original title: Korida
Directed by: Sinisa Vidovic
Country/year: Austria / 2016
Running time: 87’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Senad Halilbasic, Sinisa Vidovic
Cinematography: Lukas Kronsteiner
Produced by: Golden Girls Filmproduktion, Filmservices GmbH

Info: the page of Korida on the website of the Diagonale; the website of Korida