Working as a DJ in one of the coolest venues in Glasgow, second generation Pakistani Casim (Atta Yaqub) dreams of buying his own club. His parents Tariq (Ahmad Riaz) and Sadia (Shamshad Akhtar), devout Muslims, plan for him to marry his beautiful cousin Jasmine, who is soon to arrive from Pakistan. But then Casim meets Roisin (Eva Birthistle), a teacher at his sister Tahara's (Shabana Bakhsh) school; Roisin is gorgeous, intelligent and definitely possesses a mind of her own. They soon fall deeply in love. But Casim knows all too well that, even if he wasn't due to marry, his parents would never accept a 'goree' - a white girl. As a Catholic, Roisin finds that her own community isn't very supportive either. When their secret relationship is discovered, the repercussions reach far and wide.
 

4
An amazing realism is achieved in both style and performance...

Some statistics to start: Ae Fond Kiss is the third film in Ken Loach;s \'unofficial\' trilogy set in Glasgow, after the mighty My Name Is Joe (1998) and broken-family drama Sweet Sixteen (2002). It is the sixth collaboration between Loach and writer Paul Laverty and their fourth set in West Scotland. Essentially a love story, Ae Fond Kiss has been described as an uncharacteristically \'optimistic\' Ken Loach movie, an up close and personal snapshot of two lovers caught in the crossfire of culture clash.

Ae Fond Kiss
takes its title from a Robert Burns poem about star-crossed lovers who struggle to be together, which is a perfect description of what takes place in Ae Fond Kiss. Pakistani-Scot Casim (newcomer Atta Yaqub), meets Irish-Catholic Roisin (Bloody Sunday\'s Eva Birthistle) when his younger sister Tahara (Shabana Bakhsh) gets into a fight at her school. They are instantly attracted to each other and forge a connection through music when Roisin, also a music teacher, invites aspiring DJ Casim to help her move a grand piano. The racial, religious and family friction that stems from this interracial romance has of course been explored before in film, most notably in dramas such as Guess Who?s Coming To Dinner (1967), Spike Lee?s Jungle Fever (1991) and Stephen Frears\' Sammy And Rosie Get Laid (1987). More recently there have been populist comedies about the subject, Gurinder Chadha\'s Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and Bride and Prejudice (2004) both struck a chord with mainstream audiences as did TV series The Kumars At No. 42.

While Loach and Laverty don\'t bring anything particularly new to the table here Ae Fond Kiss is nonetheless a powerful film about the internal and external politics of interracial unions. And who says there is a finite amount of these stories to be told anyway? Ae Fond Kiss is a classic Ken Loach film: candid, intimate, authentic, funny and dramatic, with an amazing realism achieved in both style and performance, by both actors in large and small roles. (In particular Ahmad Riaz gives a riveting performance as Casim?s father, Tariq, covering the full spectrum of the character from hilarious and warm to threatening and heart-broken).

And while at times you can hear the wheels turning in this script, it is almost impossible to not be emotionally wrung out by the time the explosive ending of Ae Fond Kiss arrives. He makes us care about these two characters that\'s for sure. Ken Loach might be a predictable old leftie with a set agenda, but his films get me every time.