Boris Poljak
Croatia | 2013 | 27 min
Languages : Croatian, German, Italian, Dutch, Slovak, Polish, English, French
Subtitles : English, French

Every summer, the Church of Saint Nicholas, one of Croatia’s most important historical sites, welcomes hordes of tourists from all over the world. Boris Poljak fixed his camera in the middle of this picture-postcard landscape to observe, with distance and irony, how visitors use the natural surroundings as their stage. 

A small church perched on a hill on the horizon, a single tree squeezed onto the hillside, the sweet light of the setting sun and an immense sky: located near Nin, Croatia, the Church of Saint Nicholas, which dates from the 12th Century, is one of the country’s most important historical sites. In this romantic and untouched scenery, the kings used to introduce themselves to their people following their coronation, according to a tourist brochure vaunting the merits of the site, presented as a must for “holiday photos” (sic). Autofocus takes a reverse look at this life-size postcard and observes the comedy of mass tourism with distance and irony. Families and couples from across Europe parade in front of Boris Poljak’s camera. Like ants attacking this modest yet majestic site, they come here to enjoy their picnics, share platitudes, and sometimes even roar into the silence… but most of all to stage shots of every conceivable pose, so that their digital camera or mobile phone can provide evidence that this strange group, these followers of the sandals, shorts and baseball cap fashion, has been there –not to get the most out of their surroundings, but rather to use them, to swallow them whole in a self-absorbed click. 

Emmanuel Chicon


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