Filmed in and around the Bradford district, the film follows Ali, an exuberant music enthusiast and landlord struggling with the turmoil from the breakdown of his marriage. Ava is a pragmatic middle-aged teaching assistant and matriarch to a large and close-knit family, whose latest grandchild has just been born. When a chance encounter unites them, Ali and Ava begin a tentative friendship formed around their shared love of music that quickly blossoms into an unexpected romance.
Deftly weaving together conventions of social realism and romantic drama, Barnard presents an intelligent, warm and nuanced depiction of 21st century Britain, a love story that touches upon, amongst other issues, race and class dynamics, neurodiversity and surviving domestic abuse. Bolstered by Claire Rushbrook and Adeel Akhtar’s authentic performances, Ali & Ava is a must see. Barnard’s empathetic direction makes these everyday characters feel extraordinary.
Ali & Ava is written and directed by Clio Barnard, director of the critically acclaimed The Selfish Giant (2013) and documentary The Arbor (2010) which followed the life of Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar. The film is produced by Barnard’s long-term collaborator, Tracy O’Riordan.
Filmed and set in Bradford, Ali & Ava is financed by Screen Yorkshire, BBC Films, BFI (awarding National Lottery funding).
Ali & Ava will receive its UK premiere on 13 October as the Mayor of London’s Special Presentation at The BFI 65th London Film Festival and will be released in the UK & Ireland by Altitude on 4 February 2022. For more information visit altitude.film
Tickets for the special preview screening of Ali & Ava on Thursday 14 October are now available to book via the National Science and Media Museum website.