Ae Fond Kiss

When Casim Khan (Atta Yaqub), a second-generation Pakistani DJ with plans to open his own club, collects his sister Tahara from school and meets her music teacher, he’s smitten. Roisin (Eva Birthistle) is Irish, pretty, bright and – crucially – also interested when he offers to help move her piano. Things develop apace, and soon Casim’s lying to his mum to conceal a trip with his lover to Spain; but there he finds he can no longer hide from Roisin the fact that he’s expected to marry his cousin in nine weeks’ time, and that, as Muslims, his folks would never accept a ‘goree’ into the family…

Written by regular collaborator Paul Laverty, Loach’s Glaswegian update of the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ theme offers a typically astute analysis of how an otherwise healthy relationship can be torn, twisted and threatened by all kinds of external and internal pressures. Clashes arise between individual desire and family duty, tradition and modernity, young and old, male and female, religion and rationality, prejudice and pride. The pitfalls of schematism are avoided, as in all the director’s best work, by the vivid naturalism of the acting, and while the first half hour or so may provoke feelings of déjà vu (despite a sexual frankness rare in Loach), the film really takes off when Tahara (Shabana Bakhsh) rows with her dad (Ahmad Riaz) about her own plans: here, despite tears of rage, resentment and regret, the clear-eyed assessment of just how much happiness is at stake ensures that the rest of the movie never loses its grip.

Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday September 17 2004
Duration: 104 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ken Loach
Cast: Shamshad Akhtar
Shabana Bakhsh
Eva Birthistle
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