Thursday, June 11, 2020

Movie with Abe: Aviva

Directed by Boaz Yakin
Released June 12, 2020 (Available exclusively on

No two people are the same, even if they are influenced by similar factors throughout their lives. There are certain tendencies that are often attributed to elements like gender, race, nationality, socioeconomic background, and so many more, but there’s still no easy way to define a particular person purely by metrics. Those who don’t conform to established archetypes may be seen as outliers, and might struggle to determine what is wrong with them rather than embracing the many things that make them the completely unique person they are.

Aviva (Zina Zinchenko) is a young woman living in Paris who develops an online relationship with Eden (Tyler Phillips), a man in New York. When they finally meet each other in person, they grow closer and fall in love. The story of their life together is told with additional performers portraying them. Or Schraiber and Bobbi Jene Smith play the masculine and feminine versions of Aviva and Eden, appearing frequently in scenes as their characters express feelings and behaviors typically assigned to the opposite gender. All four are also dancers, whose movements across the screen help to convey even more depth of emotion that play in both to their relationships to each other and to everything else in their lives.

This film is instantly intriguing, introducing its whirlwind romance in a relatively normative fashion before unexpectedly jumping to dance sequences and atypical actors to give audiences truly rare insight into the people they are watching. There is nothing simple about this romance, which begins when they can only imagine what awaits them when they may finally meet and then becomes a more insular process turned external thanks to the visual approach this film employs so gracefully. Like so many real-life relationships, both romantic and platonic, this is a bumpy, unpredictable ride full of highs and lows.

This film is a dizzying, beautiful experience, one that can best be summarized by its refusal to conform. There is no switch that gets flipped when a different performer takes over a role, and labeling what Aviva and Eden are doing by assigning an actor presenting a certain gender is a fascinating exercise. There is often more chaos than order in this film, which allows its dancers to make performance art through movement and music, enhancing a sophisticated and deeply thought-provoking two-person story with a rich interpretation of the many pieces of each person that they bring into any relationship.



Darshika said...
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Darshika said...
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