“AGA’S HOUSE” Variety – Film Review by Jessica Kiang

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

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.

Full Article: @ArmanFatic.com