ⓘ Ali and Nino (film)

Ali and Nino (film)

ⓘ Ali and Nino (film)

Ali and Nino is a 2016 British-Azerbaijani war film, based on Kurban Saids novel of the same name. The film is written by Christopher Hampton and directed by Asif Kapadia. It stars Maria Valverde and Adam Bakri. The film received mixed to negative reviews.


1. Plot

During the Russian Empire, Ali and Nino fall in love. Ali is a Muslim from Azerbaijan who lives in the oil-rich city of Baku, in the familys Shirvanshir Palace. Nino is a Georgian Orthodox Christian whose wealthy Kipiani family also lives in Baku. Alis friend, Malik, agrees to help bring the aristocratic parents to accept a marriage. World War I breaks out in Europe.

Malik and Nino go to the opera, while Ali and Nino agree to secretly meet afterward. Armenian Malik has also fallen in love with Nino and kidnaps her planning his own marriage to her. Prince Ali confronts and kills Malik with a dagger. Ali is injured during the fight and escapes to Dagestan to heal and hide out from Maliks powerful Nachararyan family. The Russian Revolution deposes Nicholas II of Russia.

Tamar is afraid no one will ever marry her daughter Nino and plans to send her to Moscow. Others have their own plans. Ever loyal Mustafa reunites Nino and Ali in the mountains. After a night of lovemaking and with Ninos virginity gone, Ali yells out to call a Mullah. Mustafa assures the couple no priest is necessary for he can perform the marriage ceremony. Despite aristocratic childhoods, simple country life suits the newlyweds and they find true happiness. The Azerbaijan Democratic Republic wins its own independence.

Ali returns to Baku and gets appointed Deputy Foreign Minister. He begins to raise his young family in a free homeland. The young country signs friendship treaties with its neighbors but they fear the Bolsheviks in Russia. Learning that the Russians have amassed 30.000 troops on the border, the Azerbaijan government flees by train. As Nino and their daughter head toward Paris, Ali jumps off the train and blows up the bridge. Nino is safe but Ali gets shot and killed defending his country.

Epilogue text states that Ali Khan Shirvanshir died aged 24, Prime Minister Fatali Khan was assassinated 6 weeks later, it was 71 years before, in 1991, Azerbaijan reclaimed its independence, and Nino and her daughter escaped to Paris, but never returned to Baku.


2. Cast

  • Ekin Koç as Mehmed Heydar
  • Parviz Bagirov as Musa Naghiyev
  • Homayoun Ershadi as Safar Khan - Alis father
  • Adam Bakri as Ali Khan Shirvanshir - Azerbaijani - Muslim
  • Assaad Bouab as Ilyas Bey
  • Fakhraddin Manafov as Zeynalabdin Taghiyev
  • Nigar Gulahmadova as Sona Taghiyeva
  • Mandy Patinkin as Duke Gregor Kipiani - Ninos father
  • Riccardo Scamarcio as Malik Nakhararyan - Armenian - Christian
  • Connie Nielsen as Duchess Tamar Kipiani - Ninos mother
  • Mehriban Zaki as Sultan Hanum
  • Jumshud Zeynalov as Yayha Guli
  • Maria Valverde as Nino Kipiani - Georgian - Christian
  • Parviz Mamedrzayev as Qochu
  • Numan Acar as Seyid Mustafa
  • Rasim Jafarov as Ivan
  • Halit Ergenç as Fatali Khan Khoyski
  • Qurban Ismayilov as Kasi Mullah

3. Reception

The film received mostly mixed-to-negative reviews. It holds a 40% rating on the film review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes from a sample of 10 critics. The Los Angeles Times said, Kapadia treats intimacy like exposition - time-passage updates mark every scene - leaving his leads to flounder against backdrops. There’s zero chemistry or feeling to this sweeping, predictable endeavor, only the scent of what might have been.

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