Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
With this year's Jewish International Festival underway, SWITCH has checked out the program - click here to read our reviews.x
review, Ava, Ava, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Noée Abita, Laure Calamy, Juan Cano, Tamara Cano, Ismaël Capelot, Carmen Giménez, Mary Lefèvre, Vincent Grousset, Paul Meulins, Mila Cheuzzi, Léa Mysius

AVA

★★★

TEENAGE SELF-DISCOVERY AND SEXUAL AWAKENING IN SOUTHWEST FRANCE

ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
7th March 2018

Written and directed by Léa Mysius, ‘Ava’ tells the story of a 13-year old girl (Noée Abita) whose holiday by the slummy beaches of Southwest France is ruined when she is diagnosed with a degenerative eye condition that is slowly blinding her. While her single mother, Maud (Laure Calamy) juggles attempting a sense of normalcy, and caring for her daughter with her own romantic life, Ava embarks on a journey of self-discovery.

Fascinated by an inky black German shepherd dog she encounters as it drifts among the sunbathing families at the beach, she follows it, and witnesses its owner, a teenaged gypsy boy, in an altercation with the waitress at a beachfront cafe. The police arrive, and the crowd disperses. But Ava becomes preoccupied by the dog and its owner, Juan (Juan Cano).

The influences of other filmmakers abound in ‘Ava’: it draws on various star-crossed lover movies, the themes of Kelly Reichardt's films ('Wendy and Lucy', 'Meek's Cutoff' and ‘River of Grass’ all involve people trying to leave a place whose efforts are frustrated by their lack of resources), a little of Wes Anderson's ‘Moonrise Kingdom’, and some good bits from Jean-Luc Godard, most noticeably ‘Pierrot le fou’. However, the real strength of this film is found in director Mysius’ own nascent style.

'AVA' TRAILER

Set in the same region of Mysius’ childhood and early adolescence, her debut feature is an often hypnagogic exploration of adolescence, delinquency, burgeoning female sexuality and the trauma of growing up. Mysius daubs the film with black: the dog, the police horses and uniforms evoke the fear of her loss of sight, mirroring her loss of innocence. Black recurs as Ava’s field of vision narrows, represented by the black circles she paints on her bedroom wall and the flashlight she shines on her lover’s face.

A number of Dali-esque surrealist dream sequences become increasingly disturbing (eyeballs in the mouth, Ava’s repulsion at her mother’s sexuality, a baby shot by police), and Paul Guilhaume’s cinematography transforms the mundane setting of the beach into an apocalyptic landscape, complemented by Florencia di Concilio’s tense score. The film is aided by virtue of being shot on 35mm film, allowing depth of colour and providing Ava’s loss of sight with a stylish counterpoint. While a giant abandoned beach bunker juts out of the sand at strange angles, Ava and Juan ditch their clothes and paint themselves in grey mud before holding up shocked nude beach-goers at gunpoint.

17-year old Abita is a standout in the lead role, carrying the film almost single-handedly and giving Ava an authentic mixture of confidence, puzzlement and youthful frustration.

17-year old Abita is a standout in the lead role, carrying the film almost single-handedly and giving Ava an authentic mixture of confidence, puzzlement and youthful frustration. Although the young actress is frequently naked, Guilhaume seems to focus most on the shape of Abita's lips, taking into account size, plumpness, and the definition of the cupid's bow. Like all teenagers, Ava pouts, has a short fuse, and is all too keen to be left alone. When Maud’s concerned boyfriend asks Ava why she has no boyfriend of her own, she replies, “Because I’m mean.” The film isn’t afraid to portray Ava as a teen jerk - if not an unlikeable one, then certainly one that an audience may find inscrutable.

Sadly, the film loses its footing after the first hour, with the plot turning into a kind of Terence Malick-lite ‘Badlands’, with Ava and Juan on the run from the police, followed by a meandering road trip to a gypsy wedding. Away from the carefully constructed beach-side setting, the narrative begins to tire. An abrupt ending also hints at a filmmaker who didn't really know how to close out her story.

As a thought-provoking female coming-of-age tale, ‘Ava’ is a strong first film from Mysius. Even if she loses her grasp on her tale towards the end, there’s no denying that ‘Ava’ is still a visually stunning film, and delivers a powerful indication of what is to come from the young director, as well as the stories she has yet to tell.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: TBA
RUN TIME: 1h 45m
CAST: Noée Abita
Laure Calamy
Juan Cano
Tamara Cano
Ismaël Capelot
Carmen Giménez
Mary Lefèvre
Vincent Grousset
Paul Meulins
Mila Cheuzzi
DIRECTOR: Léa Mysius
WRITERS: Léa Mysius
Paul Guilhaume
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw - Dwayne Johnson & Jason Statham's action-packed spinoff
TRENDINGWIN FAST & FURIOUS: HOBBS & SHAWDwayne Johnson & Jason Statham's action-packed spinoff
Sliders: The Complete Collection - The entire classic sci-fi series in one big box set
TRENDINGWIN SLIDERS: THE COMPLETE COLLECTIONThe entire classic sci-fi series in one big box set
Judy & Punch - A fierce, darkly comic and epic revenge story
TRENDINGWIN JUDY & PUNCHA fierce, darkly comic and epic revenge story
Farming - Caught between two worlds in an mournfully true story
TRENDINGWIN FARMINGCaught between two worlds in an mournfully true story
Charlie's Angels - A new generation of Angels, another barrel of fun
TRENDINGCHARLIE'S ANGELSA new generation of Angels, another barrel of fun
And Then We Danced - A passionate and remarkable classic in the making
TRENDINGAND THEN WE DANCEDA passionate and remarkable classic in the making
Emu Runner - Another great win for Indigenous storytelling
TRENDINGEMU RUNNERAnother great win for Indigenous storytelling
Greener Grass - A deeply odd and very funny suburban nightmare
TRENDINGGREENER GRASSA deeply odd and very funny suburban nightmare
The Irishman - Kissing Scorsese’s ring (again)
TRENDINGTHE IRISHMANKissing Scorsese’s ring (again)
Lion - A raw and powerful journey of identity
TRENDINGLIONA raw and powerful journey of identity
Jewish International Film Festival 2019 - The reviews
TRENDINGJEWISH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2019The reviews
God of the Piano - A tale that tickles the ivories
TRENDINGGOD OF THE PIANOA tale that tickles the ivories
School of Seduction - Husband hunting in Russia
TRENDINGSCHOOL OF SEDUCTIONHusband hunting in Russia
Ford v Ferrari - A racing biopic that's right on track
TRENDINGFORD v FERRARIA racing biopic that's right on track
Never Look Away - An artistic and spiritual epic
TRENDINGNEVER LOOK AWAYAn artistic and spiritual epic
Five Feet Apart - Breathing borrowed air and clichés
TRENDINGFIVE FEET APARTBreathing borrowed air and clichés
Gallipoli - A powerful and important film remembered
TRENDINGGALLIPOLIA powerful and important film remembered
Doctor Sleep - Here’s 'The Shining' Stephen King has been waiting for
TRENDINGDOCTOR SLEEPHere’s 'The Shining' Stephen King has been waiting for
NT Live: Fleabag - The birth of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's masterwork
TRENDINGNT LIVE: FLEABAGThe birth of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's masterwork
Charlie's Angels - A new generation of Angels, another barrel of fun
TRENDINGCHARLIE'S ANGELSA new generation of Angels, another barrel of fun
© 2011 - 2019 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us