Agua Viva

The inner life of a Chinese manicurist in Miami, who attempts to describe feelings she but struggles for the right words. While working on the nails of her clients, her mind drifts over the limits of her English.

Consider This

Watch this video to explore the film’s meaning and major themes a bit more. Talking with others about a shared arts experience can enrich our perspectives. Share your thoughts in the comment section, below!

About the FIlmmaker

Alexa Lim Haas (b.1989) is an artist and filmmaker from New York City. She was selected by Filmmaker Magazine as one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2017. Her animated shorts, Glove (2016) co-directed with Bernardo Britto, and her first solo short Agua Viva (2018) both premiered at Sundance Film Festival and were awarded Grand Jury Prizes at SXSW. In addition to screening at film festivals worldwide, she has exhibited work at MoMA, BAM and Brooklyn Museum in New York, Norton Museum of Art in Florida, and in collaboration with Terence Nance on HBO. She received her BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Join the Conversation

Share your responses in the comment box below:


  1. Anonymous

    It’s hard to communicate when you are a new immigrant without the language skills. Life can be lonely and isolate in many ways. Having a work schedule helps with making the days more fluid and the year goes by faster.

  2. Asei Tendle

    I’m most happy in my stay home dad job, when the kids are enjoying a meal I made for them, or when they are enjoying playing or learning together

    Why workplace looks like constant cleanliness and constant chaos, where my hard work is constantly being undone

    I daydream of what life was like before being a homemaker, I dont think I felt this lonely. I daydream of what I may do in the future when the youngest goes off to school

  3. Anna

    Striking audio details juxtaposed with the narrator’s lonely silence.

  4. Anonymous

    What a hard worker who is so lonely. Mad me sad, but realize it is many people’s reality.

  5. CM

    Interesting look at the unique loneliness immigrants face.

  6. Anonymous

    This persons perspective on things opened my eyes to the different realities people go through each day.

  7. Tanya

    This shows how lonely it can be for a person when there is a communication barrier.

  8. Anonymous

    I felt her loneliness.

  9. Anonymous

    Enjoyed this perspective of how language barriers can be lonely.

  10. Sarah

    This film evoked sadness, contemplativeness, thoughtfulness. “Words are so solid, while my thoughts are fluid.” It can be so hard to express yourself in any language, but with a language barrier this is magnified. Most of all, I noticed that she is taking care of other people’s bodies while not doing the same for herself. She is in close contact and touching others, massaging their hands and feet, waxing their bodies, and feeling lonely. I hope she has someone to massage her hands and feet, paint her nails.

  11. LH

    I understand her pain

  12. M

    Just like her, I too work in an environment that I don’t have to interact with my co-workers most of the time. My happiest time is break time because I get to see my parents and my sister who also work in the same office that I do. I daydream the most is how to make my job easier. I too am a foreigner to this country and I could relate to her experiences.

  13. Saoudy Saoudy

    no past , no hopes for the future, no family. just breathing

  14. Anonymous

    Isolation, language, lack of true friends or family can all result in isolation and sadness. Covid 19 has caused many people to feel isolated.

  15. T

    Stark depiction of the reality of her feeling of being alone. The film has made be more empathetic with the realities and difficulties an immigrant faces in America.

  16. Anonymous

    Wonderful! Amazing!

  17. Anonymous

    good message

  18. Anonymous

    Never thought about the perspective offered here. Its good to think about for sure. Immigrants and a perspective few would know and understand

  19. Regina Mhiripiri

    This was a great reminder to be compassionate. It brought attention to the challenges that many immigrants face as they strive to make a better life for themselves in an unfamiliar place, while holding in tension their values, their culture and their identity.


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