The year is 1999: a time when the war in the Balkans is at its last gasp and hope for a better, peaceful future spreads across the countries of former Yugoslavia. A time when the millennium is about to end. In this social climate, the protagonists of Dominik Mencej’s debut feature Riders (Jezdeca, 2022) set off on their motorbikes and lead us into an authentic Slovenian variation of Easy Rider (1969). Mencej plays with all the specifics of the road movie genre, but also manages to transcend and subvert the stereotype of the female passenger by introducing a mysterious hitchhiker, a nun and a raver. Their coming-of-age road trip is thus above all a trip that redefines the (Balkan) concept of masculinity and opens for them a path towards adulthood and independence.

The integral version of this article can be found in the printed KINO!