Directed by Isa Rodriguez | Shot by Anna Dale Robinson
In most American lives there is a brief, clandestine moment in the waning days of teenage-hood that sets the stage for the rat race of a life to come, often best manifest in the leaving of one’s childhood home and the wholy new need to survive completely on one’s own. Yaya begins right there--at this sudden onset of adult responsibility--when Yaya, the film’s namesake, decides that at eighteen it’s high time she moved out of her mom’s house.
Yaya’s matter of fact voiceover guides us through the series of vignettes that open the film: Yaya’s mother (played by the same actress that plays Yaya, Naila Sophia) taunting her about the trials of the real world, the innocent detailing of her first romantic interest, and her moving in with her best friend. Yaya’s determined to find a way to survive on her own, no matter what she has to do.
There’s a youthful energy to director Isa Rodriguez’s touch that feels vital in the way that only a filmmaker’s early work can be. Make no mistake, this is an early work. But it’s that freedom from convention that propels Yaya to a place of real contemporary relevance. That like Yaya, Rodriguez is ready to show the world what she’s got.
Review By David Lombroso
Yaya was selected and screened for our VOL. 002 Series, November 25th, 2018