Written and Directed by Sadaf Foroughi (2017), AVA is about the life of an Iranian teen attending an all-girls school. She is a smart pupil and excellent musician, whose life changes when she decides to take on a risky bet, and soon starts to realise how she is viewed by her friends and family.
The film successfully shows us the hardships and struggles of living in a strict society, where Ava’s life is constantly dictated by her parents, teachers and the expectation of how a girl her age should act. It does a great job of pushing the idea of isolation and claustrophobia through its use of space. There is a theme of long lasting shots during intense conversations and hard moments, lasting long enough to create an impactful level of tension. Most of Ava’s journey is shown from a distance, usually through mirrors, behind doorways and peering through crowds, which pushes the idea that we, the audience, are unable to do anything about her position, no more than she can. The film also creates an a incredible contrast with colour; the bleak colours of a uniformed school and a hospital are lightened by Ava’s red shoes and back-strap.
The performances of the cast of AVA play just as important a role as everything else, especially the parents: Vahid Aghapoor as the father and Bahar Noohian as the mother. There opposing ideas on how Ava should be raised help develop our own ideas on the subject.
AVA is an amazing look at realities in life that most aren’t aware of, and is a good reminder of what some have to go through. Though the story may be fictional, the reality of the film is very authentic and affects men and women of many different cultures.