AGA’S HOUSE travels back to France, as part of official selection at 15th Central and Eastern European Film Festival in Rouen, to be held from 3 – 8 March 2020.

15th Central and Eastern European Film Festival has a mission to discover the latest films from Central and Eastern European countries, new and innovative films, both by their form and their content, on societies where they come from.

“AGA’S HOUSE” Film Review by Maja Bogojevic on Camera Lucida

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.

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Aga’s house [2019]: ‘KVIFF’ review – The origins of trauma and sin – by: Arman Fatic

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.

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AGA’S HOUSE [2019]: ‘KVIFF’ Review – An Empathetic Coming-Of-Age Drama Set In The Land Of Women

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.

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Karlovy Vary 2019: Lendita Zeqiraj on the energetic, emotional ‘Aga’s House’ by Laurence Boyce

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.

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