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Ava 2017



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About the Ava 💬

AVA (Noée Abita), 13, is spending the summer on the Atlantic coast when she learns that she will lose her sight sooner than expected. Her mother decides to act as if everything were normal so as to spend their best summer ever. AVA confronts the problem in her own way. She steals a big black dog that belongs to a young man on the run...

Ava: Know what scares me?
Matthias: No.
Ava: Having see only ugliness.


How did the screenplay for AVA come about?

AVA is my final year screenplay. I had to write it very quickly because I was late handing it in. It was born from the image of a scrawny and strange black dog crossing a packed beach full of flesh, cries and sun cream. The image of the black dog was already present in one of my short films, Les Oiseaux-tonnerre. With this screenplay, I wanted to explore further. The dog here is a sort of guide between people and places. He is the meeting point of the artificial and the wild, of reality and fantasy. He accompanies AVA on this journey towards sensuality and sexuality. He is the one who will lead her to Juan (Juan Cano). The young girl, first interested in the (guide) dog will end up taking an interest in the master. She goes from childhood to adulthood.

How did you come up with the idea of your heroine losing her sight?

During the writing period, I suffered from fairly violent ophthalmic migraines that obliged me to write in the dark. How is it possible to live in the dark? And, above all, how do you manage when it’s permanent? I took an interest in the degenerative condition called retinitis pigmentosa. People who suffer from it see their sight confined to a circle. Everything around it is black. First, they lose their nocturnal vision, and then the circle slowly closes. This idea took me back to primitive childhood fears. And so I imagined the character of AVA at thirteen, stubborn and solitary, who learns that she is going to lose her sight sooner than expected, within the next few months. Forced to share this news with her mother, Maud (Laure Calamy), with whom she has a very complex relationship, the young girl will do everything she can to find her own way of dealing with the problem. Little by little, she begins to discover her other senses, realizing that she has a body and that she can use it while putting it to the test, excited by the feeling of danger. The film is the initiatory tale of a young girl at the turning point of adolescence, but it is also the story of the acceptation of a medical condition.

At the start of the story, AVA is disgusted by bodies - those stretched out on the beach, sprawling and indecent, that of her mother who has sex with men, that of her little sister who she views as a disgusting digestive tube. Losing her sight obliges AVA to come to terms with her body. Going blind also forces her to accept the fact that she needs others and to trust them. The construction of her adult personality and her sexuality occurs more rapidly because of it. It has to occur with and in opposition to her coming blindness, but also, as for other young girls, with and in opposition to her mother's body, with and in opposition to the body image reflected by contemporary society.

The loss of her sight becomes metaphorical before the fear of the ''black wave''. The world is getting darker. In the last elections, the Médoc cape was black on the map, with almost 30% of votes cast for the Front National. I have chosen not to name any specific places in the screenplay so as not to refer to the rise of far-right views in a confined area, but to make this into something more extensive that could strike any French town. If we wish to position AVA in today's world, I felt that it was vital to refer to this. The character of Matthias (Baptiste Archimbaud) is the one who expresses these stakes the most clearly. He whispers to AVA, ''It will soon be the end of our civilization, read the newspapers, look around you, you'll see nothing but black...''

Were you inspired by your own adolescence in writing this film?

There is necessarily a lot of me in the film but that does not make it autobiographical. The locations are the settings of my childhood and the characters and situations are inspired by things that I know or that I have read or seen. AVA has a complex relationship with her mother, which is fairly common during adolescence. What interested me in the mother-daughter relationship was also the relationship between two generations: the mother, a child of the sixties, at ease with her body, and her daughter, much more modest, worried about the present and the future and almost more conservative at times. AVA is going to learn to open up, notably through her contact with Juan and because of the fact that her condition means that she must learn to trust others.

The character of Juan is inspired by a boy I knew, a young gypsy with a big mouth at my middle school who troubled me and who was violently rejected by the teachers and students because he was a gypsy. That sickened me. But he was merely a distant inspiration. Juan Cano, who plays the young man in the film, brought us his body, his past and even his name.

Where does AVA's nightmare come from?

I wanted us to fall into this nightmare without realizing it, like when you dream sometimes and can't tell what is real and what isn't. I'd like the audience to be drawn into it a little against its will. The nightmare in the film is pornographic in the sense that it shows everything. The images are raw and aggressive. I'd like people to sense the fear and violence that we can feel in a real nightmare. It is, of course, a very sexual dream - on AVA's sexuality and that of her mother - but also concerns her relationship with her little sister of whom she is jealous and the outside world that terrifies her. I wanted to take the transgressive aspect as far as it can go in our dream: her mother's clitoris, the execution of the baby... Everything becomes darker and darker up to the surrealistic shot of AVA swallowing her eye.

Ava Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Léa Mysius

Writing Credits

Léa Mysius (Screenplay)

Paul Guilhaume (Collaboration)


Noée Abita

Laure Calamy

Juan Cano

Tamara Cano

Daouda Diakhate

Baptiste Archimbaud

Franck Beckmann

Carmen Gimenez

Valentine Cadic

Ismaël Capelot

Music by

Florencia Di Concilio

Cinematography by

Paul Guilhaume

Genres: Drama, Comedy, Romance

Country: France

Ava Official Trailer

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