Ali & Ava

Ali & Ava

United Kingdom | 2021 | 95 min | Clio Barnard

April 14 - 24, 2022

From the writer/director of Dark River (SIFF 2018), this two-time BAFTA nominee (Best Actor, Best British Film) traces the tender, cross-cultural romance between two middle-aged lonely hearts: a widowed Irish teacher and a British Pakistani landlord.


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Make an evening of it! Join us after the Sunday, April 24 screening for our Closing Night Party at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), beginning at 8:00pm. At the party, enjoy full access to MOHAI and all exhibits, signature SIFF cocktails featuring Tito’s Vodka, hors d'oeuvres, a photo booth, music from DJ David Lowe, and more.

$40 General Public ($35 SIFF Members)
Includes two drink tickets and hors d'oeuvres

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Cinematic romances rarely have the easy charm and naturalism found in writer/director Clio Bernard’s fourth feature film. Ali is a middle-aged Anglo-Bengali Muslim who works as a property manager yet aspires to be a musician/DJ. But his jovial veneer masks the heartbreak from a failing marriage, a secret he keeps even from his tightknit family. Ava, recently widowed from an abusive husband, works as a classroom assistant at the local school; her joy and lifeblood is her family, which includes two grown children and five grandchildren. When Ali gives Ava a lift home one rainy afternoon, they have instant chemistry expressed by a shared love of music: bonding over the Buzzcocks, quibbling over whether you can dance to country music. However, their budding relationship soon turns precarious: Ava’s son Callum, who has inherited his father’s closed-minded temper, reacts violently when he discovers Ali in Ava’s presence, while Ali, still technically married, risks alienating his own family when the couple is spied upon by his sister. Described by the director as a diegetic musical, Ali & Ava is a melodic drama, jubilant yet sober, generous to all its characters even as it recognizes the stresses and struggles they face.

Dan Doody

  • Director: Clio Barnard
  • Principal Cast: Claire Rushbrook, Adeel Akhtar
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: United Kingdom
  • Year: 2021
  • Running Time: 95 min
  • Producer: Tracy O'Riordan
  • Screenplay: Clio Barnard
  • Cinematographers: Ole Bratt Birkeland
  • Editors: Maya Maffioli
  • Music: Harry Escott
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: Dark River (2017), The Selfish Giant (2013)
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Greenwich Entertainment
  • International Sales: Altitude Film Sales