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“Ava,” the debut feature film by Lea Mysius, is a visually arresting and emotionally charged exploration of adolescence, impending loss, and the unconventional paths one might take when confronted with an uncertain future. At the center of this cinematic journey is the remarkable performance by the talented newcomer, Noée Abita.

Abita, in her portrayal of the headstrong 13-year-old protagonist, Ava, delivers a performance that is nothing short of captivating. Her ability to convey a wide range of emotions, from the frustration of losing her sight to the rebellious energy that propels her into a crime spree, is both nuanced and powerful. Abita not only captures the physical and emotional challenges of Ava’s character but also brings a raw authenticity to the screen that makes Ava’s journey deeply relatable.

The film’s narrative unfolds against the backdrop of Ava’s strained relationship with her single mother, Maud, played convincingly by Laure Calamy. The tension between mother and daughter adds layers of complexity to the storyline, further heightened by Mysius and Guilhaume’s screenplay, which expertly navigates the turbulent dynamics between pubescents and parents.

As the film progresses, Ava’s encounter with Juan, played by Juan Cano, introduces an unexpected twist to the narrative. Abita’s on-screen chemistry with Cano is palpable, adding a layer of sensuality and tenderness to the film. The decision to delve into themes of teenage sexuality is handled with a delicate touch, acknowledging the discomfort it might elicit while pushing the boundaries of conventional storytelling.

Mysius’s direction shines in the film’s visual language. From the sun-soaked beaches to the dimly lit scenes that mirror Ava’s diminishing eyesight, every frame is carefully crafted, creating a rich and immersive experience for the audience. The film’s shift from the initially captivating depiction of Ava’s world to the outright weirdness of her third-act crime spree adds an unexpected layer of intrigue.

While “Ava” might be unsettling for some viewers due to its bold choices in portraying a minor’s sexual exploration, it remains a thought-provoking and evocative piece of cinema. Noée Abita’s performance stands out as the heart of the film, making “Ava” a compelling and memorable debut for both the actress and the director. As the credits roll, one is left with a lingering sense of the film’s emotional impact, and the promise of great things to come from both Lea Mysius and the talented Noée Abita.

Image Courtesy of © 2023 Bac Films Distribution All rights reserved

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