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CORPUS HOMINI

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by Anatol Bogendorfer

grade: 7

Everything in Corpus Homini is shown to us in the most natural way possible. Each stage of human life inevitably presents certain needs and situations. And so, finally, every taboo is abandoned. At the Diagonale 2024.

All stages of life

Many will remember the documentary De Humani Corporis Fabrica, directed in 2022 by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel, in which the human body itself was closely analysed through direct observation of surgeries, autopsies and visits to various hospitals in Paris. And, in fact, the human body, with its countless facets, has always fascinated not only those who have to ‘take care of’ it for a living. In the case of the documentary Corpus Homini, directed by Anatol Bogendorfer and premiered at the Diagonale 2024, for example, we see how, unlike in the film by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel, while putting the human body in the foreground, four fundamental aspects concerning every human being are specifically observed: birth, everyday life with all its natural problems, sexuality and death.

The long journey of Corpus Homini thus crosses four different areas of Austria. In the Salzkammergut, midwife Elisabeth assists numerous women in labour both before and during the birth, making sure that they always feel comfortable when facing this important challenge. Verena, on the other hand, lives in Vorarlberg, where she works as a family doctor. Every day she meets dozens of patients and, while listening to their problems, also tries to provide them with appropriate psychological support. Julia, on the other hand, lives in Vienna and after a period of training she deals with the sexual needs mainly of people with physical and mental disabilities, presenting her activity on her social channels as something totally natural. Harald and Kateryna, finally, run a funeral parlour in Lower Austria and, with gentleness and empathy, are used to helping those who cannot afford an expensive funeral.

Thus, in Corpus Homini, Anatol Bogendorfer’s camera observes each of its protagonists with affection and reverence, often giving us close-ups and details, without ever being intrusive or excessive. A simple and direct directorial approach shows us intimate conversations between doctors and patients, young Julia preparing to shoot a video while still feeling too nervous in front of the camera, but also corpses being washed and dressed before a funeral.

Everything in Corpus Homini is shown to us in the most natural way possible. Each stage of human life inevitably presents certain needs and situations. And so, finally, every taboo is abandoned. Taken as a whole, then, this important documentary by Anatol Bogendorfer is in every way a true hymn to life. A rich and colourful fresco of all the phases of our existence.

Original title: Corpus Homini
Directed by: Anatol Bogendorfer
Country/year: Austria / 2024
Running time: 95’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Anatol Bogendorfer
Cinematography: Christian Dietl
Produced by: BOXA FILM

Info: the page of Corpus Homini on the website of the Diagonale; the page of Corpus Homini on the website of the BOXA FILM