Ae Fond Kiss…
Year of release: 2004
Directed by: Ken Loach
Casim, a young second-generation Scottish-Pakistani man falls in love with Roisin, an Irish music teacher at his sister's school. But Casim is expected to marry a cousin from Pakistan and, despite being passionately in love with Roisin, feels initially unable to renege on the arrangement his parents made out of loyalty to his family.
Family ties represent a double bind, with parents who care deeply about their son and two daughters but who are not prepared to grant their children the same freedom of choice their Western peers are used to exercise. By contrast, Roisin’s family (who presumably lives in Ireland) plays no part at all. The film remains equivocal as to whether Roisin’s detachment from her family or Casim’s close family ties are preferable. Ae Fond Kiss… is similarly even-handed in its assessment of arranged marriage. Far from demonizing it, the film concedes that arranged marriage may well offer greater stability than the fleeting passion of a Western-style romance. The film ends with what amounts to Casim and Roisin’s promise of commitment. However, if the promise sealed by a kiss truly signifies a happy ending, what are we to make of the film’s title? The reference to Robert Burns’s song about lovers parting, ‘Ae fond kiss, and then we sever! / A farewell, and then forever’, appears to anticipate the eventual breakdown of Casim and Roisin’s relationship.