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First Look: Asif Kapadia’s ‘Ali & Nino’ Shoots in Azerbaijan

Adam Bakri and Maria Valverde star in 'Ali & Nino'

LONDON — The first still has been released for “Ali & Nino,” which Asif Kapadia is shooting in Azerbaijan from a script by Christopher Hampton.

The adaptation of Kurban Said’s novel is produced by Kris Thykier (“Woman in Gold”) and executive produced by Leyla Aliyeva. IM Global will handle international sales.

Adam Bakri (“Omar”) and Maria Valverde (Ridley Scott’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings”) star as the titular star-crossed lovers, and are joined by Mandy Patinkin (“Homeland,” “Criminal Minds,” “The Princess Bride”) and Connie Nielsen (“Nymphomaniac,” “Gladiator”), playing Nino’s parents Gregor and Tamar Kipiani.

Ali Khan and Nino Kipiani live in Baku, the cosmopolitan, oil-rich capital of Azerbaijan, which, at the beginning of the 20th century, is a melting pot of different cultures. Ali is a Muslim, with his warrior ancestors’ passion for the desert; and Nino is a Christian Georgian girl with sophisticated European ways.

The two have loved each other since childhood, and Ali is determined that he will marry Nino, despite their cultural differences, but there is not only the obstacle of their different religions and parental consent to overcome.

World War I breaks out, and Baku’s oil becomes the focus of Russia’s grab for power. As the war plays out and control of the Caucuses changes hands, Ali and Nino find themselves swept up in Azerbaijan’s fight for independence.

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