AE FOND KISS
Working as a DJ in one of the coolest venues in Glasgow, second generation Pakistani Casim (Atta Yaqub) dreams of buying his own club. His parents Tariq (Ahmad Riaz) and Sadia (Shamshad Akhtar), devout Muslims, plan for him to marry his beautiful cousin Jasmine, who is soon to arrive from Pakistan. But then Casim meets Roisin (Eva Birthistle), a teacher at his sister Tahara's (Shabana Bakhsh) school; Roisin is gorgeous, intelligent and definitely possesses a mind of her own. They soon fall deeply in love. But Casim knows all too well that, even if he wasn't due to marry, his parents would never accept a 'goree' - a white girl. As a Catholic, Roisin finds that her own community isn't very supportive either. When their secret relationship is discovered, the repercussions reach far and wide.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Ken Loach, a wily filmmaker who knows all the cinematic tricks, departs from his usual downbeat settings and subjects (but not too far) with a romantic drama; it's still set amongst real people, this time in Glasgow. The first pleasure the film offers is an evident sense of wry humour that saves the film from being a total downer; the second is the delicious sound of the Glaswegian accent - especially out of the mouths of Pakistanis; and the third is a set of performances that capture the characters with instantly recognisable validity and vitality.
The cross cultural story is treading a well worn path but has a twist: the girl is a divorcee. It's not much of a twist, I grant you, but there is a subtle undercurrent created by this element that impact on both the religious and ethnic boundaries that are breached. Including the thuggery of the worst excesses of members the Catholic church.
Excellent dialogue and wonderfully observed minor moments add up to enjoyable entertainment, while the more serious tones are carried by the film's muscly, well forged scenes. Avoiding the sentimentalisation of the story, Loach tells it like it is. (And as Paul Laverty wrote it.) And it surely is a drama, not a comedy, for all its moments of levity.
The clashes are not restricted to caricatured Muslim v Christian; in fact it is a film that is powered by the sum of the clashes, between generations, cultures, religions and between the individuals and the clashes within each character.
This theme is encapsulated in the opening sequence when the feisty Tahara (Shabana Bakhsh) declares at her school speech day that she's a Glaswegian teenager woman of Muslim background in a Catholic school, supporting the local football team. Her next act is to fight back when some of the boys tease her, her older brother's restraining shouts unheeded. Here in a nutshell the ground for looming conflicts is laid. Confined by their systems, the characters are destined to play out a human drama in which their choices are cursed, no matter what.
Come to think of it, it's still a very Ken Loach film.
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AE FOND KISS (MA)
CAST: Eva Birthistle, Atta Yaqub, Ahmad Riaz, Shamshad Akhtar, Shabana Bakhsh, Ghizala Avan, Pasha Bocarie
PRODUCER: Rebecca O'Brien
DIRECTOR: Ken Loach
SCRIPT: Paul Laverty
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Barry Ackroyd
EDITOR: Jonathan Morris
MUSIC: George Fenton
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Martin Johnson
RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Rialto Entertainment
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: May 19, 2005
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount
VIDEO RELEASE: October 20, 2005