New Internationalist

Ae Fond Kiss

September 2004
Falling for each other, across cultures. Ken Loach's latest offers no easy answers.

Ken Loach is a great educator and provoker of debate. For nearly 40 years he’s made films about people in often desperate personal circumstances. Personal – but at the same time, as his audience soon discovers, social and historical.

His latest is about the pull between different cultures. Casim is a second-generation Glaswegian Islamic Pakistani and a DJ, Roisin is an Irish music teacher in Casim’s sister’s Catholic school. They fall for each other, but Casim’s parents plan for him to marry his cousin from Pakistan.

Roisin, condemned for living in sin, loses her teaching post but Casim faces losing his parents. Their pain and confusion at losing their only son – and their place in the community – is real and heartfelt. Loach shows there are no easy, painless answers.

There are weak points. A big one is Casim and Roisin’s unconvincing relationship. Small but niggling is the patronizing uselessness of the labourers shifting Roisin’s piano. But on the relationship between two generations of British Pakistanis, this is a rare, respectful and moving film.

Malcolm Lewis

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 371 This column was published in the September 2004 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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