Rustam Ibrahimbekov, who had previously scripted Nikita Mikhalkov's Urga, teams up with Ramiz Hassanoglu in a film which depicts life in the early 1990's, when the Soviet Union was collapsing, through the microcosm of one family. Refugees from Armenia and Gornyi-Karabakh are flooding to Azerbaijan; fanatical nationalists are raging havoc in the capital, and Baku and political protests take place almost every day. Uncle Ismail is a staunch Communist, determined to keep his multi-national family together despite the current confusion in the country; he is even willing to provide a home for the refugees. His unrealistic requests unleash a family feud that lasts for three days, at the end of which Ismail dies, having realized all his time honored values are going down the drain, and his family is falling apart just like the old social structures. Even Teimur, an artist, is involved in the shady dealings of the Mafia, who are busy selling their culture in the form of valuable works of art. Aila is a realistic depiction of the state of affairs following the demise of the Soviet Union. Uncle Ismail serves as a metaphor for the Soviet regime -- a patriarch who provides for his large family, but also rules with an iron fist, and it is expected he dies with the death of the empire. Aila, which holds a mirror to the confusion that exists in the former Soviet Union today, was screened as part of the Panorama section of the 49th International Berlin Film Festival, 1999.
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