Loach tackles love across the religious divide

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Score 4


Ae Fond Kiss


Ken Loach has taken his title from a poem by Robert Burns-“Ae fond kiss, and then we sever/Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!” ? so you wouldn’t expect his inter-denominational love story to run smoothly. Loach wanted to explore the issues of racial and religious identity, with one eye on the climate of intolerance since 9/11. Second-generation Pakistani Casim (Atta Yaqub) is a Glasgow DJ gripped by the ambition to buy his own club. He meets schoolteacher Roisin (Eva Birthistle), tumbles into an affair, then is forced to confront the entrenched attitudes of his Muslim family, who plan for him to marry a cousin from Pakistan. The contrast between the new generation of assimilated Pakistanis and the medieval conservatism of their forebears is skilfully depicted, but Loach also peels strips off the Catholic church, which hauls Roisin over the coals of hellfire. Loach’s improvisatory style means there are a few gaffes and bald patches, but it’s a price worth paying for the insight and passion of the narrative.