Looking for Venera / Në kërkim të Venerës
16-yr-old Venera shares a cramped house in a small Kosovan town with three generations of her family. Stifled both physically and mentally, how can an attractive free-thinking young woman break free from this traditional patriarchal society? A rebellious new friend, who introduces her to an exciting world of booze and boys, might offer an escape route, but will anything really change for either of them?
Looking for Venera is officially entered for Best International Film at the 2023 Oscars.
With her award-winning first feature, director, Norika Sefa, shows an assured hand at creating a claustrophobic family atmosphere, an overall sense of volatility amongst the men in a country still recovering from the horrors of war and children who are always seemingly up to no good. It often feels like a documentary in its observational style, yet is also ravishingly cinematic, thanks to some impressive composition and lensing that makes it feel like a film from another time, almost as if shot on Polaroid.
What the critics say….
“Sharing the Special Jury Award Rotterdam (International Film Festival), this minutely-observed study of small-town life near the North Macedonian border focuses on a bright teenager chafing against the restrictions of domestic patriarchy. A striking achievement especially in terms of visuals, atmosphere and performances” – Screen International
“Rites of passage, teenage girls in small towns, strict and uncomprehending parents: We know the drill, yet few films riffing on the subject get the mood and ambiguities as right as Looking For Venera. Debuting feature director, Norika Sefa, exhibits exceptional talent in bringing subtlety and depth to characters as well as the overall atmosphere of a town in Kosovo. Impressively shot…richly multi-layered performances, the film deservedly won a special jury award in Rotterdam.“- Variety
“The most appealing asset of the film are the two main actresses, who play wonderfully off each other, and whose outlook and mutual relationship are quite touching and original” - Vladan Petkovic Cineuropa