Director Boaz Yakin has carved out a diverse and unpredictable career where complancy has not taken root. With the critical acclaim of Fresh and the box office success of Remember the Titans, Yakin could have written his own ticket into directing studio driven projects. Along with directing stories with a broader appeal (he helmed the Jason Statham starrer Safe and co-wrote Now You See Me), Yakin has used his own money to help finance his features (including Death in Love and Boarding School).
His latest feature Aviva, centers on the passionate and complex relationship between Eden and the titular character, a woman who upends her life in Paris to live with her soulmate in New York. It’s a breathtaking movie that, along with being one of Yakin’s best works, merits repeated viewings (thanks to numerous standout sequences),
Aviva is played by both a woman (Zina Zinchenko) and a male (Or Schraiber), and that follows suit with Eden (played by choreographer Bobbi Jene Smith and Tyler Phillips). The actors in the film are dancers, so movement, fluidity, and most importantly expression are the life blood of Aviva’s narrative.
Yakin’s relationship with ex-wife Alma Har’el (she directed last year’s Honeyboy) served as an inspiration for Aviva, but this tale is far from a singular and narcisstic journey.
“The thing is we’re all human beings, so if you can tap into something very pure and true in your own experience I think it becomes relatable to other people,” said Yakin. “The truth is even though I use some personal experiences in my life and things I went through, once you start writing it you become responsible to the story that you’re writing. It’s a highly fictionalized and boiled down view on how I was experiencing my relationship to masculinity and feminity in the self and how that relates with my relationships with other people.”
Click on the media bar to hear Boaz Yakin talk about how Jean-Luc Godard’s A Woman Is A Woman inspired his film (he mentions Aviva cinematographer Arseni Khachaturan and choreographer/actress/producer Bobbi Jene Smith in the audio):