Tehran-set Ava marks a director to watch

Sadaf Foroughi's film, recently chosen as a Canada's Top Ten pick, follows an Iranian teen constructed by her family and culture

AVA (Sadaf Foroughi). 103 min. Subtitled. Opens Friday (January 26). See listing. Rating: NNN

You can see why there’s buzz for emerging director Sadaf Foroughi. The film, recently chosen by TIFF for their Canada’s Top Ten festival, cannily conveys how Tehrani teenager Ava (Mahour Jabbari) feels constricted by her family and the institutions around her.

Her parents (Vahid Aghapour, Bahar Nouhian) are starting to regret that they encouraged her to play music and appreciate the arts, and want her to study something useful. And her school principal (Leili Rashidi) is horrified by – and punitive about – her friendship with a boy pianist.

Although the film builds to a terrific scene between the principal and Ava’s dad (Aghapour is excellent as an ineffectual man who finally speaks out), the pace is ragged. Conversations tend to be too long and are staged too statically. And the English subtitles are, unfortunately, stilted.

But Foroughi is definitely one to watch.

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