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Nd/Nf Review: ‘Ava’ Tells a Universal Tale of Resilience Against Patriarchal Oppression

Sadaf Foroughi’s fulminating debut feature, Ava, may strike a few chords among Persepolis enthusiasts. A role-model schoolgirl turned rebel, its eponymous teenage girl is a rollicking blend between Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s black-and-white punk teen and The 400 BlowsAntoine Doinel – a heroine fighting to reassert her freedom in the face of an ultra-conservative environment. Tehran-born, Montreal-based writer-director Foroughi draws from her childhood memories to conjure up a gripping coming-of-age story where the claustrophobic relationship between an overprotective mother and her teenage daughter acts as a synecdoche to expose a patriarchal society eager to chastise whatever falls outside its rigidly policed norms.

Premiered at Tiff in September 2017, where it nabbed the Discovery Award, Ava follows its titular 17-year-old (Mahour Jabbari), an impeccable student and promising violinist from an upper-middle-class Tehran family, whose life starts crumbling after her mistrustful mother (Bahar Nouhian) subjects her to a revoltingly humiliating

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