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BFF21 Ali and Ava

18+ 95 MIN
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The latest film from BAFTA-nominated director Clio Barnard (The Arbor, The Selfish Giant), Ali & Ava is a tumultuous, fiercely affecting working-class love story set in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

An exuberant music enthusiast and landlord Ali (Adeel Akhtar, also in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain) is a British Pakistani working-class landlord who forges close bonds with his tenants. Ava (Claire Rushbrook) is an Irish-born teacher and single mother of five, 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. Despite their different backgrounds and stages of life, and regardless of Ali’s failing marriage and Ava’s fraught relationship with her adult and adolescent children, each finds themself irresistibly drawn to the other and their friendship quickly blossoms into an unexpected romance.

Enveloped in music and imbued with humour, Clio Barnard deftly weaves together conventions of social realism and romantic drama to present an intelligent and nuanced depiction of 21st century Britain that feels profoundly rooted in lived experience.


OFFICIAL SELECTION – BFI London Film Festival 2021 

OFFICIAL SELECTION – Toronto International Film Festival 2021 

OFFICIAL SELECTION – Cannes Film Festival 2021, Directors Fortnight  


"The performances make this worthwhile. "

- Hollywood Reporter

"A quiet study of its characters, Ali & Ava is a fresh take on otherwise well-worn rom-com narratives. "

- Globe and Mail

"Beyond Barnard's deft touch with issues of class and race appear her underlying sensitivities at portraying the halting, tentative steps toward romance between two people of a certain age."

- In Review Online

Movie Information

Release date

Wednesday 3rd November


95 min




Adeel Akhtar, Claire Rushbrook, Natalie Gavin, Shaun Thomas, Ellora Torchia


Clio Barnard


Film Festival



Participating Cinemas

Palace Balwyn Cinema, Palace James Street, Palace Barracks, Palace Norton St, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Verona, Palace Westgarth, Pentridge Cinema, Chauvel Cinema, Palace Electric, Palace Byron Bay, Palace Central Sydney, Kino Cinema, Palace Raine Square