Aga’s House by Lendita Zeqiraj will have its Nordic Premiere at prestigious Göteborg Film Festival to be held from January 24th – February 3rd 2020.
In 43 years, Göteborg Film Festival has developed and grown strong and today is the largest film festival in the Nordic countries and the most important annual meeting place in the Nordic film industry.
Today, the film festival is also one of the biggest cultural events in Sweden and the audience’s response testifies to the fact that the event has found its place in both hearts and minds. What once started as a bold dream of two cineasts has become a stable and appreciated part of Swedish cultural life and a significant player in the international film industry.
The festival runs for eleven days during the month of January-February and attracts around 160,000 visitors. During the festival period, about 450 films from some 80 countries will be shown in about 1,000 screenings.
A punchy, uncompromising drama, set in a remote refuge for women, tells a story of those traditionally underrepresented in Kosovan society.
From the beginning, there’s something disconcerting about the exuberance of Lendita Zeqiraj’s feature debut “Aga’s House.” We’re immediately plunked down into the middle of a circle of women sitting on a remote Kosovan hillside in the sunshine exchanging salty anecdotes while preparing food. They laugh, bicker and throw cruel little jabs at one another, referring to age, attractiveness, sexual experience or lack thereof. But the bawdiness and hilarity feels volatile and precarious, as though it could end at any moment, as though these women, in their exile from society, are living as loudly and brashly as they can to drown out the ticking of the unexploded mine of the past over which they dance. For a film with so much laughter, “Aga’s House” is an intensely uneasy experience.
Four of the women have been living in this so-called “refuge house” for some time: the pretty, flirtatious, unserious Emira (Rozafa Çelaj); her best friend and sparring partner Luma (Adriana Matoshi); Kumrija (Shengyl Ismaili) the careworn mother of 9-year-old boy Aga (Arti Lokaj); and Gjyla (Meliahte Qena) a widow in her 70s who was forced from her family home after her son was killed in the Kosovan war, leaving her with no male relative. To this number is added a fifth, Zdenka (Rebekah Qena), a middle-aged Croatian woman whose arrival is viewed with suspicion by the rest of the gang.
Full Article: @Variety.com
It is this Chantal Akerman-esque film directed by a highly talented female author Lendita Zeqiraj that the former Yugoslav region has long been waiting for. Beautifully filmed, thanks to masterful photography of Sofian El Fani, prevailingly with close-ups, which convey not only the author’s empathy with all her characters, but encourage the viewer also to be in the minds of women and sympathise with them, even when nothing ‘much’ is happening, especially in some of the most memorable scenes of one of the most visually stunning films of the recent Balkan cinema. These extreme close-ups contribute to feeling as close as possible both to the group of women and to the boy, but also underline the existence of three sub-films within a film: The first ‘film’ is about a boy, the second ‘film’ is the women’s different individual stories and the third ‘film’ is a film of close ups, leading the viewers to feel as close as possible to these women before they hear their harrowingly painful stories at the end.
Full Article: @CameraLucida.net
Director Zeqiraj, has shown in her previous short films, (that have traveled to more than 300 international festivals), that her stories focus on wartime, youth and the people living on margins of society. In that sense, “Aga’s House” looks like a culmination of hard work in her fifteen-year-long career. The film tells stories of women and boy living far away from the world. From the first moment, it is obvious that something is not right, but it’s actually really hard to pinpoint what that certain something is. Relations of women are blurred out, they don’t really resemble one another, with their attitudes and age they also don’t really look they could be in any kind of blood relation.
South-Slavic cinephiles might be able to draw a few parallels with “Snow”, Cannes Critics Week awarded film by Bosnian director Aida Begić and Golden Berlin Bear awarded film “Esma’s Secret” by Jasmila Žbanić. It’s not far away from the truth, as the faiths and history in a region is similar, so are the films in a certain sense. But what director Zeqiraj brings on a table is a bit more deliberate and deeper story than we had a chance to see so far in a region.
Full Article: @ArmanFatic.com
AGA’S HOUSE by Lendita Zeqiraj has been awarded with FEDEORA SPECIAL MENTION AWARD by Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. Jury mebers: Maja Bogojević (Montenegro), Pavlina Jeleva (Bulgaria), Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi (Italy).
FEDEORA is the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean; founded in May 2010 in Cannes. It is constituted of individual professional film critics from European and Mediterranean countries. The seat of FEDEORA is in London, UK. The aims of FEDEORA are: forming juries and presenting awards at relevant international festivals, publishing film reviews, essays, festival reports and other articles in the FEDEORA online film magazine, organizing conferences and many others.
Award-winning Kosovar writer-director Lendita Zeqiraj’s debut feature “Aga’s House” is about a boy growing up in a house full of women. Playful, funny and ultimately quietly heartbreaking, Zeqiraj’s departure from short films is a brilliant drama about how empathy not only heals but ultimately makes one grow.
The film opens with a technicolor look at the world. Aga (Arti Lokaj) – A small, innocent boy is on his own, enjoying his time in a natural habitat. He sells cigarettes and occasionally some weed to locales. He carries them around so that he can always make a quick buck. Wishing to see his father is his one true aim in life. The other is, of course, trying to understand if he should really be sensitive, docile or authoritative. Being surrounded by 5 women his understanding is quite wobbly.
Full Article: HighOnFilms.com
Kosovan filmmaker Lendita Zeqiraj first came to prominence thanks to a number of lauded short films, including Balcony in 2013 and Fence in 2018. Both won numerous awards across the international festival circuit.
Aga’s House is Zeqiraj’s feature film debut and is the opening film of this year’s East of the West Competition at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (KVIFF).
The film, which had its world premiere at KVIFF yesterday (June 29), is a raw, emotional examination of a group of women who live in a remote mountain location. Among them lives Aga, the nine-year-old son of one of the group; when something goes wrong, it is up to him to set things right.
Full Article at: ScreenDaily.com
“The Kosovar filmmaker is set to present her eagerly awaited coming-of-age social drama, which focuses on female protagonists and is competing at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival”
Having already forged a successful career with her short films, award-winning Kosovar writer-director Lendita Zeqiraj is due to open the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival’s East of the West competition with her eagerly awaited debut feature, Aga’s House.
Zeqiraj, who was declared National Filmmaker of the Year in 2014 in her home country, has travelled to over 300 international film festivals with her previous works. Specifically, her short film Balcony premiered at the 70th Venice Film Festival, in the Orizzonti Short Films Competition, and was awarded the Jury Prize at the 2013 edition of AFI FEST. In addition, her last short film, Fence, won the Best Short Award at Palm Springs, Hamptons and New Orleans Film Festivals, thus qualifying three times for the Academy Award for Best Short Film.
Full article at: Cineuropa.org
AGA’S HOUSE by Lendita Zeqiraj has been selected to have its World Premiere and to be an opening film of 54th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is the largest film festival in the Czech Republic and the most prestigious such festival in Central and Eastern Europe. It is one of the oldest A-list film festivals, a category it shares with the festivals in Cannes, Berlin, Venice, San Sebastian, Moscow, Montreal, Shanghai, and Tokyo. Among filmmakers, buyers, distributors, sales agents, and journalists, KVIFF is considered the most important event in all of Central and Eastern Europe.
Every year, the festival presents some 200 films from around the world, and regularly hosts famous and important filmmakers. This year’s edition will be held from 28th June to 6th July 2019.