A must watch for anyone interested in international affairs and the history of the twentieth century; this film and the novel 'Ali And Nino: A Love Story
' give fascinating insights into the meeting of East and West, Islam and Christianity and the rise of oil money. Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan is like a character in the book, made up of multiple facets of personality, religion, beliefs and tastes. Under Soviet rule, freedom and cosmopolitanism were curtailed, but since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan has struggled to reintroduce effective democracy. The breaking banking scandal shows that the power of oil and money to buy influence abroad is still tempting.
Cherfas's film gives a contemporary view of the city and country with input from leading local and international experts who explain the present with reference to the past. It is an invaluable, beautifully crafted document that helps unravel the mysteries of where East meets West.