Watch Aya

  • TV-14
  • 2012
  • 39 min
  • 7.2  (935)

Aya is a dramatic short film directed by Mihal Brezis and Oded Binnun, which premiered in 2012. The movie portrays two people's interactions over 40 minutes at the Ben Gurion airport, where a chance encounter takes place. The film follows a young woman named Aya (Sarah Adler) who works as a driver, waiting on a client at the airport. As she waits, she meets a Danish man named Mr. Overby (Ulrich Thomsen), a music conductor, who initially mistakes her for his arranged limousine driver. Aya chooses to play along with the deception, and decides to take Mr. Overby to his destination, a seaside hotel. The two strike up a conversation along the way, and they both explore the differences between their cultures and their lives.

Mr. Overby is on a whirlwind trip to Israel, and his time is limited. Aya, however, has recently experienced a change in her life, and is adrift, uncertain of her future. She sees a sense of freedom in Mr. Overby and his life, which is over with in just a few days. She is both struck by envy and nostalgia of what could have been, and even contemplates extending his ride beyond her work shift.

Sarah Adler's performance as Aya is compelling and nuanced, and she delivers a performance that’s poignant and heartrending. Her character exudes an effortless sense of grace even though she is constantly surrounded by chaos. With a flicker of her eyes, her character communicates much of what she is thinking and feeling.

Ulrich Thomsen's embodiment of Mr. Overby's character is subtle and understated. While his approach to art and life is in contrast to Aya's own thinking, he is convincing as a man who is self-assured and comfortable with his own choices. He is equally comfortable in the spontaneous conversation with a stranger and a Masterclass with young musicians. His role is more straightforward but no less affecting.

The direction by Mihal Brezis and Oded Binnun is remarkable. The movie's simplicity is delightfully refreshing and engaging. They have achieved something rare by creating a film that is both an existential study and an arresting mood piece that intends to provoke empathy and self-reflection.

The screenplay of Aya, written by Brezis, is well-crafted and quietly adventurous. It captures the intriguing sense of unfamiliar and serendipitous attraction that emerges between the two characters. It’s evident that every nuance and subtext of the characters, as well as their conversation, has been considered in the scriptwriting process. One marvels at the way these character's stories are told through their interactions, the silences, and the spaces between their words.

The film is shot beautifully by cinematographer, Boaz Yehonatan Yacov. Most of the shots are kept tight on the two characters, capturing the intimacy of the conversation. Moreover, the limited camera focus creates a sense of discomfort but, at the same time, a feeling of closeness with the protagonists, as though the audience is sitting right next to them.

The short film's score complements its visual approach. Music plays a vital role in both the characters' lives, and the incorporation of music into the narration and screenplay is significant. The score aids in creating the atmosphere and translating emotions into sound.

Aya is an 39-minute-long drama that skillfully presents the transformative power of chance encounters between strangers. Through Aya and Mr. Overby's conversations, the film powerfully portrays the unsaid feelings of two people who have never met before and who have relatively little in common yet find themselves surprisingly vital to each other. It is a clear demonstration of how the human experience is enriched when we take risks and step out of our borders.

In summary, Aya is a straightforward story of a chance encounter between strangers at a time when their lives seem to be at a crossroads. It is a small yet profoundly delightful piece of cinema that exemplifies what rich storytelling can achieve. It is a visually and aurally appealing work of art that captures and holds the audience's attention with ease.

Aya is a 2012 drama with a runtime of 39 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.2.

Where to Watch Aya
Aya is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Aya for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    39 min
  • IMDB Rating
    7.2  (935)