ALI & AVA
Director: Clio Barnard
2022, UK, 95min.
Screenwriter: Clio Barnard
Cast: Adeel Akhtar, Claire Rushbrook, Ellora Torchia, Shaun Thomas
One of Britain’s most distinctive new voices is writer/director Clio Barnard, whose unblinking look at the working-class residents of a town in West Yorkshire reflects the new realities of a more diverse, 21st century Britain. Her fourth film follows the love story of Ava (Claire Rushbrook), the Irish-born matriarch of a large family living at a majority-white housing estate, and Ali (Adeel Akhtar), her charismatic Pakistani landlord. Their bond grows out of a passion for music from Dylan to bhangra grooves, and a commitment to caring for the people around them. Their longing for intimacy is held back by family expectations and corrosive secrets: Ali hasn’t told his traditional family he is estranged from his wife, and Ava is hiding the damage inflicted by her abusive ex-husband.
“Four stars! Barnard’s film is an essay in acceptance and love.” – Peter Bradshaw, the Guardian.