Rarely can you go into a movie nowadays and be completely wrong about what you’re going to see.
Ava is one of those films. While on its surface, it is a movie about a girl going blind who decides she’s going to have a good summer, Ava is not a typical thirteen-year-old girl.
This movie is wild.
There’s armed robbery, there’s sex on the beach, there’s dognapping- and throughout it all, Ava’s field of vision is steadily shrinking. Her teenage rebellious phase has come early, and the way she contends with her mother and baby sister- abandoning them, essentially, time and time again, to pursue her own interests- is a couple of years beyond her, but so is what her mother tends to ask of her. She has clearly been thrust into the real world far too soon, and this results in her crafting a fantasy world for herself with the help of a “gypsy” she meets on the beach they’re summering on.
“I want to save him. I want to be saved,” claims Ava at one point in the midst of her nightmares (constant, centered around sight loss and her mother’s promiscuity). This is deeply resonant with anyone who has ever felt themselves losing touch with reality. This movie seems incredibly silly at points, but the underlying themes are remarkably human – even if it will occasionally take you out of the film to remember that she’s merely thirteen, and probably shouldn’t be doing these things. Ava couldn’t give less of a damn what you think she should be doing- and that’s admirable in itself. As for the way she throws herself into rescuing someone else so that she can forget her own woes, blink and you might forget her age, fading behind how incredibly real that feels.
“I am dark and invisible,” she glowers at one point, staring down at peers from a roof. She may be right about the former, but despite losing her sight, you cannot miss her. I would say the same goes for the film.
We screened the film at Rendez-Vous with French Cinema.