8:00 PM, 25th October, 2005
Normally, if you were asked to review both a Ken Loach and a Mike Leigh film in the same semester, you would make sure a good dose of Prozac was nearby. Both directors are renowned for their socialist, kitchen-sink tales of drudgery and want, and rarely is one in a cheerful mood afterwards (despite having seen a high quality film). Ae Fond Kiss (directed by Loach) is different.
This film is a love story caught between two religions - Catholic (Roisin - Eva Birthistle) and Muslim (Casim - Atta Yaqub). It has the usual political bent associated with Loach films (examining complex issues like racism, cultural differences, family relationships and class divides), but the story is strongly anchored around the relationship between the two leads, and the difficulties they encounter.
Loach has not only stretched himself beyond his usual style, he has also made one of the best romantic films of recent years. The intimacy and chemistry between the leads is both acted and shot superbly, and the script and direction seamlessly blend the political and passionate aspects of the tale. I strongly urge Ken Loach fans and hopeless romantics to see Ae Fond Kiss.