ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL: EXPLORING FEMALE COMING-OF-AGE THROUGH THE BLINDING LENS OF AVA
The Alliance Française French Film Festival returns again at Palace Nova Eastend, showcasing an incendiary selection of French feature films, such as Ava.
In Lea Mysius’ debut movie, 13-year-old Ava (Noée Abita) is faced with the harsh reality that her vision is diminishing faster than expected.
As Ava tries to make the most of her last sighted summer with her mother, she confronts her looming blindness in her own complex way.
Constantly at odds with her mother and battling her frequent nightmares, Ava propels into a rebellion, stealing a black dog she names Lupo from a mysterious gypsy boy, Juan.
Using Lupo as a make-shift of guide dog, she partakes in vigorous routines to strengthen her senses once she turns blind, such as walking on rooftops with a blindfold.
Once Ava and Juan become acquainted, a sensual love affair entails.
One of the film’s most memorable scenes is when Ava and Juan embark on a Bonnie and Clyde-esque rendezvous, stealing from nude beach-goers on the coasts of Médoc.
It’s moments like these where the use of 35mm film accentuate the brief ‘joie de vivre’ elements through the saturated tones of blues and gold.
Experimental in some scenes, Mysius distorts realism with a Freudian-eque dream sequences, hinting Ava’s sexual discovery and dwindling optimism in life.
Paired with Ava’s inner-dialogue, the audience is able to delve to the inner psyche of Ava.
At times, disturbingly poetic, Ava’s perspective on life seems very bleak for a typical 13-year-old girl.
Her thoughts are complex when she worries about having “only seen ugliness” and wonders if her ominous “dreams will vanish” when she can not see anymore.
Ava is a female character of complexity and unpredictability.
As a female director, Mysius is able to create a multi-faceted and strong female lead, avoiding common clichés of women who become helpless when adversities like blindness arise.
Whilst the plot ends in an ambiguous, slightly disordered manner, one thing is for certain.
Ava is a stunning directorial debut by Mysius. Vivid in imagery and colour, this film compellingly illustrates the confusing growing phase of a teenager trying to understand and battle against the imminent destiny that awaits her.
The Annual Alliance Française French Film Festival will be screening Ava at the Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas on the 9th and 10th of April.
Image via Annual Alliance Française French Film Festival