Love story of a Muslim Azerbaijani boy and Christian Georgian girl in Baku from 1918 to 1920.


Asif Kapadia


Christopher Hampton, Kurban Said (book)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Adam Bakri ... Ali Khan Shirvanshir
María Valverde ... Nino Kipiani
Mandy Patinkin ... Gregor Kipiani
Riccardo Scamarcio ... Malik Nakhararyan
Connie Nielsen ... Duchess Kipiani
Homayoun Ershadi ... Ali's Father
Assaad Bouab ... Ilyas
Halit Ergenç ... Fatali Khan Khoyski
Fakhraddin Manafov ... Haji Zeynalabdin Taghiyev
Nigar Gulahmadova Nigar Gulahmadova ... Sona Taghiyeva
Parviz Gurbanov Parviz Gurbanov ... Musa Naghiyev
Numan Acar ... Seyid Mustafa
Daniz Tacaddin Daniz Tacaddin ... Nino's Friend
Qurban Ismayilov Qurban Ismayilov ... Kasi Mullah
Khumar Salimova Khumar Salimova ... Nino's Friend


Ali is an upper class Muslim man, whose family holds a great deal of power in Baku, Azerbaijan. At that time, before World War One, Azerbaijan was part of the Russian Empire. Nino, Ali's lover, is from neighboring Georgia and is Christian, but the two are deeply in love and elope to the countryside. The story follows the two, who get married, through World War One, which only sees some of Ali's friends sent off to war. After the Russians surrender, however, conflict comes to Baku. Ali fights the Bolsheviks with the Azerbaijani militia and Nino helps nurse wounded soldiers during the March Days massacre in Baku. Written by Sundance goer

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Romance | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


One of the executive producers of the movie is Leyla Aliyeva. She is daughter of Ilham Aliyev - the president of Azerbaijan. See more »


Ali Khan Shirvanshir: The desert doesn't ask for anything, doesn't give anything and doesn't promise anything.
See more »


Celeste Aida
(from the first act of the opera "Aida")
Performed by Jozef Mann with The Polish Opera Orchestra
Composed by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto Written by Antonio Ghislanzoni
Recording Licensed Courtesy of Warner Music Poland
See more »

User Reviews

Worth watching, but a lackluster adaptation of a book you MUST read
24 May 2017 | by baxterlawfirmSee all my reviews

First off, the Novel "Ali and Nino" by Kurban Said is the seminal piece of modern literature for the country of Azerbaijan. It is absolutely worth reading for anyone who enjoys literature of any kind. The English translation is short, accessible, and infinitely interesting. It is a love story, a clash of cultures, and a political-historical account of how Azerbaijan was the first liberal democracy in the Muslim world ... for less than two years before the Russians decided to conquer it again.

Of course, this movie was made and financed by the current authoritarian president of Azerbaijan's family, and is put together like a PR product to western nations. It's a bit like if Ivanka Trump decided to produce an adaptation of "The Grapes of Wrath" for foreign audiences. It would certainly be technically well-done, but noticeably lacking much of the substance of the source material, perhaps even missing the point of the story entirely.

The book is full of humor and nuance in the interactions of the characters. It portrays a uniquely multi-cultural society where people from the same country, living literally under the same roof think so differently about things it is like they come from opposite sides of the Earth. The movie only briefly touches on a few of these moments, and kind of lacks context and buildup when it does.

What the movie gets absolutely right, and the whole reason to bother watching the movie, is the visuals. The cinematography really captures the feel of the place, it will make you homesick if you are from there, and make you want to see it for yourself if you have never been there.

So in sum, the visual depiction of the story's setting is an 11/10, A+, outstanding result. The adaptation of the substantive bits of the story leaves A LOT to be desired. The acting is fine, and may even be great if the screenplay gave the characters more or the development and "moments" from the novel.

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UK | Azerbaijan


English | Azerbaijani | Russian

Release Date:

6 October 2016 (Azerbaijan) See more »

Also Known As:

Ali & Nino See more »

Filming Locations:

Azerbaijan See more »


Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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