Agua Viva

An animated short film by Alexa Lim Haas

Sometimes it seems like the only way to convey one’s feelings is body language, especially when you are a stranger in a place where you do not know the language. This is a story about a Chinese manicurist in Miami who attempts to describe her own feelings. While working on the nails of her clients, she allows her mind to drift, obsessing over her own body image, thinking about jellyfish and recognizing to herself the limits of her limited English. After a client comments on the intimacy of a bikini wax, the manicurist has to look up the word. “Sometimes I feel I have no words at all,” she says. “My meaning is always lost. Are there words in the language for such a feeling?”

Written, directed and animated by Alexa Lim Haas, and produced by the independent filmmaking collective Borscht, Agua Viva is an animation made with beautiful, emotionally resonant line drawings. About herself, Alexa just writes she is made from Alexa Juice, and if you spill out her contents you’ll have a delicious glass of sugar water with lemon. She has veins coursing through her body and as she ages they are becoming much more visible, one day she will be all blue. She is currently growing out her gray hair: “Take me, and you’ll eat sugar.”



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