Screened as part of NZIFF 2004
Ae Fond Kiss is the third, after Sweet Sixteen and My Name Is Joe, of Ken Loach’s Glasgow trilogy, and, happily, the most hopeful. His fifth collaboration with writer Paul Laverty, it is first and foremost a love story. Roisin is an Irish lapsed Catholic, teaching music in a state-funded Glasgow school which is Catholic in denomination, though many of the students are not. When Tahara, a feisty young Pakistani girl, and her fine-looking older brother Casim shelter from racist yobbos in Roisin’s classroom, a romance is born. DJ Casim dreams of club ownership. Casim’s parents, meanwhile, dream of seeing him married to his Pakistani betrothed. While he’s compelled to chose between the love of his family and the love of the woman they characterise as a fly-by-night whore, Roisin discovers similar attitudes on her own home patch. Loach shows some sympathy for the beleaguered Pakistani parents, but his unforgiving view of the priesthood, rousingly embodied by actor Gerard Kelly, is so forceful that it should, in the best Loach tradition, lead to changes in the law.