MEET THE AUDIENCE / HIGHLIGHT | 24/03/2018
Ava, Iranian-Canadian filmmaker Sadaf Foroughi’s powerful feature debut, is a coming-of-age tale of an Iranian teenage girl who rebels against her oppressive family and conservative society to fight for freedom and independence. At the film’s Asian Premiere, presented with the support of the Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong and Macao, the writer-director shared her filmmaking experience with the audience.
The film has been noted for its carefully constructed composition and stunning cinematography, which Foroughi herself traces directly to inspiration from paintings. She was strongly influenced by the works of Canadian photographer Jeff Wall and Danish Painter Hammershøi, she told audiences on 22 March after a screening at the sky cinema. “The camera works as an onlooker—someone recording a family secret,” she added. “That’s why it doesn’t move and it’s like a person staring at the family.”
Ava frequently employs the technique of creating a frame within a frame—whether through doors, car windows or mirrors. “Ava tries to find her femininity but she’s lost in a way,” Foroughi explained. “That’s why we can see all these doors and intertwined corridors.” The director also remarked that the recurring use of mirrors heightened the tension between characters. “Mirrors reveal our limitations in time and space. It’s kind of a past and future, but never present. It’s like two generations facing each other.”
Many of the shots in the film offer only a restricted point of view for the audience, by concentrating on the lower part of a body or the hand of a person. “I want to create new body language,” the director said. “Normally we talk a lot with our gestures and with our hands, so I would like to emphasize them. Hands have a lot of feeling and emotion to show.”