Calm, taciturn teenager Venera lives in a small village in Kosovo. At home, three generations are constantly under one another’s feet in their cramped house, so she has hardly any privacy. Outside too, on the streets and in the café, it’s not much better: the village is small and there’s always a brother, nephew or neighbour keeping a beady eye on her. A girl is expected above all else to protect her good reputation – and that of her family. All of which makes it difficult for Venera to go her own way. Her spirits are lifted when she makes friends with rebellious Dorina, who already has a boyfriend. The two girls go out having fun together, as far as Venera’s father allows. One thing they know for sure: they don’t want to end up like their mothers. “I’ve never even seen my parents kiss”, Venera says. In her sensitive, subtle feature debut, Norika Sefa portrays with a great eye for detail how a modern girl grows up in traditional, strictly hierarchical surroundings. But how can Venera make her own choices if there isn’t really much to choose from? The distinctive soundtrack and delicate, observational camerawork add a documentary feel to this intimate coming-of-age story. While Venera’s hunger for freedom only grows, she sees Dorina give in to the demands of her family. Now, she must choose for herself.
- Tiger Competition special jury award - IFF Rotterdam
- Kosovare Krasniqi
- Erjona Kakeli
- Rozafa Celaj
- Basri Lushtaku
- Norika Sefa
- Luis Armando Arteaga
- Stefan Stabenow
- Norika Sefa
- Risto Alchinov
- CIRCLE PRODUCTION
Sefa has developed her characters as vivid and fully fledged, with a very convincing arc.
A striking achievement especially in terms of visuals, atmosphere and performances, this quiet gem will appeal to festivals and channels seeking to showcase emerging talent.
I like to capture something happening in the set which cannot be communicated. It’s a kind of storytelling that doesn’t assume that you are watching the scenes thinking about what is going to happen, but rather what is happening.
Norika Sefa is a Kosovo born filmmaker. She graduated from FAMU in Prague. Her films are fragmentary, oneiric pieces in the way they distill atmosphere rather than stick to a conventional narrative and very heterogeneous in style, merging fiction and documentary. She has made shorts including CHEERS (2015), FLUTTER (2016), and KISS ME, NOW (2020), along with DESDE ARRIBA (2020), a hybrid documentary made under the guidance of Werner Herzog in the Peruvian jungle. LOOKING FOR VENERA (2021) is her first feature film and premiered at IFF Rotterdam, winning a special jury award in the Tiger competition. Norika is currently developing her next feature film set in Kosovo.