Lea Mysius’s debut Ava is a daring piece of filmmaking – a confident, though sometimes wavering, examination of teenage rebellion. The film begins with a stunning shot of a French beach brimming with tourists, setting a precedent of gorgeous cinematography full of vibrant colours. This beach is where most of the action takes place, and the film follows a 13-year-old girl name Ava (Noee Abita) who, after discovering she will lose her sight, begins a journey of self and sexual discovery over the summer.
What unfolds is a series of events including a dog kidnapping (dognapping?) and a burgeoning relationship with an older boy. While all this happens, she tries to come to terms with her oncoming blindness. This is all conveyed with deep imagery (such as the jet-black dog which I suppose represents blindness) which, though a bit on-the-nose, was shot beautifully.
Following a captivating beginning, the film loses its way in the third act, which involves a Bonnie and Clyde-type crime spree, as well as an apparent lack of understanding of how to end the story. Not to mention the uncomfortable levels of nude scenes with Ava, even if the actress was of legal age.
Ava had the potential to be something incredible – a brave debut not unlike Julia Ducournau’s Raw. But unfortunately, it never quite gets there.