Ae Fond Kiss

by Chris Bertram on October 11, 2004

I saw Ken Loach’s latest film, “Ae Fond Kiss”: , last night. Very good it was too. I don’t want to post spoilers, but the film is about a love affair between Casim (Atta Yaqub), a Glaswegian Muslim with a Pakistani background and Roisin (Eva Birthistle), an Irish Catholic schoolteacher. His family, who have arranged for him to marry Jasmin, a cousin he has never seen, and are less than thrilled at his relationship. I thought the depiction of the intergenerational tensions within this Muslim family was terrific. The film works dramatically because Loach is sensitive enough not to play it just in terms of true love versus backward tradition: Casim’s parents aren’t ogres or dictators but caring and engaging characters who are nonetheless bewildered by their children. One of the best films I’ve seen in ages.

[I also saw Ethan Hawke and Julie Delphy in “Before Sunset”: . I’d estimate that a third of the audience walked out. I wish I had.]



lth 10.11.04 at 1:01 pm

Shame, I thought Before Sunset was one of the best films I’ve ever seen. It was certainly a refreshing change from the standard Hollywood rom-com tripe.



David Tiley 10.11.04 at 2:27 pm

Ae Fond Kiss I thought was a fascinating if proudly retro statement about the nature of love. Impermanent and transient romance is put up against the utter pragmatism of arranged marriage. In some ways, the traditional method was given a strong case, while western ideas of romantic love were seen as fragile and potentially evanescent.

It left me thinking about the role of loyalty. Two people who commit themselves as long the relationship lasts; what happens if one of them is run over by a bus? Emotional daring versus security. Or truth versus loyalty.

As intended by Loach, an uncomfortable denouement.. close to the bone. A bloody good film from the old feller.


skip 10.11.04 at 3:20 pm

And if you thought Before Sunset was great, go see the first of the two (made in ’94), Before Sunrise. In fact, if you haven’t seen either, it’s well worth the effort to see them in sequence.

Yes, they are both all dialogue – but what dialogue, what acting!


harry 10.11.04 at 5:10 pm

Am I in it? I didn’t like the one I was in.


Chris Bertram 10.11.04 at 5:16 pm

Didn’t you? I thought it was great and I only bought the DVD because you were in it!


harry 10.11.04 at 6:21 pm

I found it too traumatic — not the footage of me, but the whole subplot with the sister. It felt a bit melodramatic. I think I’m a very sensitive movie-watcher. I love Loach, usually, so was surprised not to like it. And the main setting was very realistic!


drapeto 10.12.04 at 12:29 am

western ideas of romantic

if picking up strangers is good enough for shakuntala, it’s good enough for me.


djw 10.12.04 at 1:49 am

I belong in Bristol, where people are more discriminating. I can’t for the life of my figure out what people see in those Linklater/Delpy/Hawke narcissistic whine-fests, but they sure see something different than the dreck I’m watching.

Harry, if you were really in a Loach film, you should see about getting a listing in the credits at IMBD.


harry 10.12.04 at 2:43 pm

djw — I wasn’t even paid! (at least, not by Loach). Its more in the way of an uncredited cameo, appearing as myself. Not, though, a bystander: I’m really there, doing something (or having soemthing done to me). I’ll ask IMDB what that counts as…

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