Narrow gorges and clearly-defined hierarchies in this coming-of-age story, both sensitive and intimate, set in provincial Kosovo. In the strongly patriarchal environment she finds herself in quiet, taciturn Venera yearns for the freedom to finally be allowed to enjoy life. Together with the rebellious Dorina she plucks up the courage to break free, and yet the euphoria proves short-lasting.
There is no room for privacy in Venera's cramped home: here young and old compete for space. Outside, on the street and in the café, it's not much better: the village is small and there is always a brother, nephew or neighbour keeping a watchful eye on her. The demands are unequivocal: she is to preserve the good reputation of the family. That, however, complicates Venera's desire for freedom, that is until she meets Dorina, who secretly has a boyfriend and bravely defies the region's old established laws in various ways, at which point the tide seems to turn and things start to heat up. A struggle against long-held traditions and a strictly hierarchical environment begins, and soon enough Venera has to decide how far she is willing to go. In this, Norika Sefa's perceptive feature film debut, the filmmaker focuses on her characters' faces and bodies, impressively arranging these elements into a whole amongst the ruins of the war, remnants of tradition and the hum of traffic emitting from a nearby highway.
Luis Armando Arteaga
Stefan STABENOW, NORIKA SEFA
Norika Sefa, Besmir Krapi
Norika Sefa - is a Kosovo born filmmaker. Her films are heterogeneous in style, merging fiction and documentary, pieces that create atmosphere rather than stick to a conventional narrative. Recently she made Kiss Me, Now (2020), along with Desde Arriba (2020), two hybrid documentaries. The last one was made under the guidance of Werner Herzog in Peruvian jungle. Looking for Venera (2021) is her first feature film and premiered at IFF Rotterdam, winning the special jury award in the Tiger competition. Norika is currently developing her next feature film set to be in Kosovo.