A film by Sadaf Foroughi
2017, 103 minutes
No. 163


Based on her own adolescent experiences, Sadaf Foroughi’s Ava is a gripping debut about a young girl’s coming-of-age in a strict, traditional society. 

Living with her well-to-do parents in Tehran, Ava is a bright and focused teen whose concerns — friendships, music, social status, academic performance — resemble that of nearly any teenager. When Ava’s mistrustful and overprotective mother questions her relationship with a boy — going so far as to visit a gynecologist — Ava is overwhelmed by a newfound rage. Formerly a model student, Ava begins to rebel against the strictures imposed by her parents, her school, and the society at large.

Winner, FIPRESCI Discovery Prize, Toronto International Film Festival
Official Selection, New Directors/New Films

"Critic’s Pick! “Exquisitely photographed… visually inventive… [a] remarkably controlled intensity… AVA looks repression in the eye and doesn’t flinch.” – The New York Times

“Gripping... Explosive visual grammar...  A stirring study of Tehranian girlhood.” – Village Voice

"How much of the pain of Sadaf Foroughi’s first feature is the pain of being a teenager, and how much is it being a teenager at a particular place and time? These are the questions raised by Foroughi’s exquisite, unorthodox framings and reframings of her characters, each one posing a separate inquiry." – Jonathan Rosenbaum

"A searing social critique in carefully composed frames and a swelling classical score, announcing herself as a vital new cinematic voice." – Indiewire

"Spellbinding. Foroughi’s assured debut remains a welcomed and insightful reminder that the patriarchy Ava struggles against is still alive and kicking. Stories like hers will hardly ever grow old." – The FIlm Stage

"A knock-out feature debut. Foroughi reframes the image of women in Iran in the staggering Ava." – Stephen Saito, Moveable Feast