Ali and Nino Adam Bakri Maria Valverde

Star-crossed love.

In early 20th-century Azerbaijan, a star-crossed young couple – Adam Bakri’s Ali is an Azerbaijani Muslim; Maria Valverde’s Nino is an aristocratic Georgian Christian – find their passionate bond tested to the limit by religious differences and the era’s political turmoil.

A tragic love story based on a classic novel and set against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution, would-be epic romance Ali and Nino has a more than a touch of David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago about it.  And a whiff of Europudding, too.

Sadly, as Ali and Nino’s great love unfolds, it is the latter quality that predominates. And it stops this UK-Azerbaijani co-production from catching fire, notwithstanding its sumptuous period detail and handsome landscapes. A disappointing effort from screenwriter Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons) and director Asif Kapadia (Senna, Amy), who is returning to documentary for his next feature, a film about football legend Maradona.

Certificate 15. Runtime 100 mins. Director Asif Kapadia

Ali and Nino available on DVD & Digital from Thunderbird Releasing.