thu 24/09/2020

Ava review - Sadaf Foroughi powerhouse drama about teenage rebellion | reviews, news & interviews

Ava review - Sadaf Foroughi powerhouse drama about teenage rebellion

Ava review - Sadaf Foroughi powerhouse drama about teenage rebellion

Set in middle-class Tehran, Ava captures the perils of rebellion in modern-day Iran

Mahour Jabbari as Ava

Canadian-Iranian director Sadaf Foroughi offers up a gut-wrenching tale of adolescent rebellion set against the strictures of an oppressive Middle Eastern society.

Canadian-Iranian director Sadaf Foroughi offers up a gut-wrenching tale of adolescent rebellion set against the strictures of an oppressive Middle Eastern society. It rivals the work of Asghar Farhadi in quality, telling the story of a 17-year-old student whose strong-willed ways lead her into conflict with her watchful parents and teachers.  

To Western eyes, Ava’s (Mahour Jabbari) acts of adolescent rebellion seem slight – wanting to study music wouldn’t often be met with disapproval by parents. At school she chats innocently with her best friend Melody (Shayesteh Sajadi), talking as teenage girls do. Ava knows her parents disapprove of Melody because of her parents’ divorce, but she doesn’t care and continues the friendship. Then Ava makes a mistake that her parents can’t overlook: she meets up with a boy without supervision. This indiscretion, although innocent, gets Ava frog-marched to a gynaecologist’s office to confirm she remains a virgin. Without blinking, her mother (Bahar Noohian) threatens Ava’s life for the defiant act, and we quickly learn that the stakes are much higher than we first thought. Ava's Rebellion, starring rising star Mahour Jabbari Over the course of this tightly woven drama, Foroughi keeps the story unpredictable, even though we are aware throughout that there is little hope for a natural rebel like Ava. Foroughi, along with cinematographer Sina Kermanizadeh, crafts an intimate mood, echoing the isolation Ava feels in this oppressive environment, drawing us emotionally closer to the drama. 

Dramatically speaking, relatively little occurs, sometimes to the point of frustration. But this is a deliberate choice, inviting us yet further into Ava’s world, allowing us to share in her sense of segregation. At the heart of it all is Mahour Jabbari, who delivers a commanding performance as a teen coming to fully embrace her womanhood. Meanwhile Noohian expertly captures the sinister consequences of a society in the grip of an oppressive patriarchy that denies women the liberty to explore their identities on their own terms. 

With Ava, Sadaf Foroughi proves to be an accomplished director who will no doubt come to be recognised on the same level as Farhadi, capturing a society that seems so alien to Western eyes, yet through her central character, making it somehow familiar.

At the heart of it all is Mahour Jabbari, who delivers a commanding performance as a teen coming to fully embrace her womanhood

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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