Directed by Ken Loach. UK. 2004.

Talking Pictures alias talkingpix.co.uk







About Us



Ae fond kiss, and then we sever; Ae fareweel, alas, forever! - Robert Burns

Roisin Hanlon (Eva Birthisle) is a spunky young Irish woman who teaches music at a Glasgow Catholic school. She is still married but no longer lives with her husband, a situation that will later affect her tenure at the school. After a fracas at school in which a young Muslim girl is being chased by bullies, she meets and begins a relationship with Casim Khan (Atta Yaqub), a Pakistani disc jockey in Glasgow clubs who plans to open his own club. A Fond Kiss is the third in the Glasgow series by director Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Lavery (My Name is Joe, Sweet Sixteen). It is much lighter in tone than his previous films and avoids scenes of poverty, drugs, and urban decay, characteristic of many of his other films. Though A Fond Kiss is basically a romantic drama, it has a great deal to say about issues of class, race, and religion and does so in a very forthright manner.

Casim, a second-generation Pakistani, is very close to his parents, Tariq and Sadia (Ahmad Riaz and Shamshad Akhtar) and his two sisters, Rukhsana (Ghizala Avan) and Tahara (Shabana Bakhsh). Rukhsana is expected to marry Amar, a scientist from a prominent family in an arranged marriage, while Tahara rebels against her parents wishes for her to become a doctor and plans on studying Journalism at the University of Edinburgh. His relationship with Roisin is opposed by his family who has arranged a marriage between him and a Pakistani girl and have built an extension to the family home for them to live in.

The relationship between Roisin and Casim becomes more intense when they travel to Spain for a short vacation. Near the end of the trip, however, he tells her that he is engaged to marry in nine weeks, a marriage arranged by his family that cannot be canceled. Roisin feels betrayed by Casim's revelation and seems unable to understand how torn Casim is between his devotion to his parents and his growing love for her. Newcomer Birthisle does an excellent job in portraying a tough-minded independent woman who is willing to stand up to social pressure and be true to her deepest feelings. "It will break their hearts, destroy them," Casim says talking about having her meet his Muslim family. ‘What about your heart, and my heart?’ Roisin replies.

Casim tells her that he has personally seen the racism directed towards his family and believes that adherence to his culture's values is the community's best hope for survival. Nonetheless, he tells his mother to cancel the arranged wedding and decides to move in with Roisin even though he knows the ramifications it will have the community. Things start to get tough for Roisin as well. She learns that she is in line for a full time position at the school if she can gain the approval of her parish priest (Gerard Kelly but he has other thoughts. In a scene that will make you duck to avoid the flying sparks, he berates Roisin for 'living in sin" with a non-Catholic while still married and refuses to give his approval unless she leaves Casim. 

To complicate matters further, Casim's sister Rukhsana visits Roisin and also asks her to leave him. Roisin, however, tells her that she loves her brother and Rukhsana replies, "I know but for how long? I don't know how typical Casim's family's reaction is to his relationship with a "goree" (white girl) but Loach shows them without any willingness to give an inch. One wishes that there was a solution that would make both parties happy but such is not the case. The parents will not acknowledge that their children are living in a different world or encourage them to make their own choices. A Fond Kiss may not be Loach's best work but it is very real and involving and one of the few that ends on an optimistic note. Though the story of star-crossed lovers has been told before, it has rarely been related with as much honesty, insight, and beauty.


Howard Schumann
Search this site or the web        powered by FreeFind
Site searchWeb search

   Home | News | Features
    Book Reviews | About Us