LOOKING FOR VERENA

  • Kosovo
  • 2021

Venera wants to live, be young and free. Just a teenager. She wants to be like her new friend Dorina, who radiates everything she isn't and doesn't have - especially when it comes to experiences with boys. Venera has to subordinate every wish, every hope, every longing, no matter how small, to the strict everyday family life that she lives with her parents, brothers and grandmother in a small town in the mountains. There isn't much space, and certainly not intimacy. Just a father who rules over his wife and daughter, and a mother for whom happiness means two minutes of secret dancing. Dorina comes in handy with her brash, unabashed manner and with her the opportunity to break out of her old life, although not without consequences.

Not much else happens in Norika Sefa's film, but it's far from the whole story that this quiet, breathtaking debut from Kosovo tells. Looks, gestures, physicality speak a language for themselves. Looking for Venera derives its tension and a strangely compelling appeal from the unusually insistent eye of a camera that looks for its young heroine in almost every shot and doesn't always find her right away, but always knows how to rediscover her in a splendid way.

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