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A Fond Kiss
A Fond Kiss
Actors: Atta Yaqub, Eva Birthistle
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2005     1hr 45min

Casim is a second generation Pakistani from Glasgow. Working as a DJ in Glasgow's coolest venues Casim dreams of buying his own club.A teacher at his sister Tahara's school Roisin is different from any girl he's ever met. ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Atta Yaqub, Eva Birthistle
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Love & Romance
Studio: Lions Gate
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/15/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 45min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Yoshika T. from LOUISA, VA
Reviewed on 8/20/2009...
Great love story of 2 people from separate backgrounds.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

A Fresh, More Complex Look At Star-Crossed Love
Jana L. Perskie | New York, NY USA | 05/06/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Versions of tragic love alliances have been dramatized many times in fiction and cinema. Bi-cultural, interracial couples of different religions confront difficulties which usually tear them and their families apart. Director Ken Loach brings freshness, fairness and poignancy to his film "A Fond Kiss," (from a poem by Robert Burns), that left me thinking, days later, about the dilemmas it presents. Considerable credit must be given here to the extraordinary cast. Atta Yaqub is Casim Khan, a second generation Pakistani living in Glasgow. His counterpart and sweetheart, Roisin Murphy, is a young Irish Catholic woman, both strong and sensitive in nature, played by Eva Birthistle. The two truly light up the screen and make their characters palpably real with their outstanding performances. The supporting cast also does a superb job. Their roles as Casim's family and friends are important ones. In most dramas of this sort, the main focus is on the star-crossed lovers. Here one gets an opportunity to meet Casim's family also, to empathize with them, and appreciate the gravity of their problem.

The Khan family has lived in Glasgow for over 40 years. While the parents are integral members of their Pakistani community and devout Muslims, their three children, brought up in the west, have totally different life experiences. The eldest daughter Rukhsana, (Ghizala Avan), combines traditional lifestyle with a modern education. She is happily engaged to an attractive Pakistani man, also well educated, whom she met through family arrangements. The couple suit each other well. One gets the feeling they would have been drawn together if they had met on their own. The youngest daughter Tahara, (Shabana Bakhsh), wants to study journalism at the University of Edinburgh, where she has applied against her fathers wishes. He doesn't want her to leave Glasgow and the family circle, even though the course she wishes to pursue is not available in the bigger city. She also wants to go clubbing with her friends. Big brother Casim even objects to this, and he works in a club and takes dates there himself.

Casim, a DJ by night, is planning with best friend Hammid, (Shy Ramsan), to raise the money necessary to open their own club in Glasgow. There are potential investors in London who appear to be seriously interested. Casim's day job is at his father's grocery store. One day, when he goes to his sister Tahara's school to pick her up, she introduces him to talented music teacher Roisin Murphy. Ms. Murphy is a gifted pianist and quite lovely to look at. She had been married briefly, at a young age, but the relationship dissolved, unofficially, as quickly as it was entered into. She is employed part-time at a strict Catholic school with stringent moral standards.

The two make eye contact, there is a rush of chemistry and they begin to date, just casually, never realizing the amount of suffering they will cause each other and those who love them. Casim is engaged to his first cousin in Pakistan. Initially, he never thinks to tell Roisin. During a holiday weekend on the Spanish coast, (a two-for-one deal), Roisin learns of Casim's family obligations and becomes very upset. It is during this period that the young couple realize they are in way over their heads.

Casim is a Muslim, he can never be otherwise. He is a Pakistani, and no matter how westernized he may become, his reality will never change. It is obvious that he is dark, especially against Roisin's fair skin. Although she is does not have a racist bone in her body, others do, throughout Glasgow. Then, the question of potential children comes into play. How will the kids be raised? The Khan family is wonderful. Who wouldn't want the maternal Mrs. Khan, (Shamshad Akhtar) to be their mother or a close relation? Tariq is a strict father, passionate in his beliefs, but understandably so, and his love for his children and his wife is evident. It is unthinkable for Casim to give up close ties with his people and community. Yet, if he refuses to marry the girl he is promised to, this will bring terrible shame on the entire family. Rukhsana might even lose her fiance. Casim is extremely guilt ridden and torn. Yet he loves Roisin too much to leave her.

Roisin Murphy has no close family attachments. Although she is not a particularly devout Catholic, she will not become a Muslim either. I believe, she would accept and honor the Pakistani culture, but it would have to be a bi-cultural arrangement with Casim. Her job at school is threatened by the relationship. In one ferocious scene, the traditionalist parish priest insists she break-off with Muslim Casim. Also, since Roisin already has one marriage under her belt, promising "forever" to another, when she could not honor her first vow, doesn't feel right. She can only promise to try to make the relationship work. Yet, Roisin is a serious person with a strong sense of honor. And the two love each other and are so right together. But how can Casim give up everything...and with no promise of forever?

This is a complex, beautifully acted film - so much more than a love story. It is also a good movie to see with a group and/or on a date, as it makes for terrific post-film conversation.
No Group is Free of Predjudice
Michael Meredith | St. Louis, MO United States | 03/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A Fond Kiss makes for an interesting story of cross-cultural romance, with an unblinking look at the clash between old world traditions and modern relationships. Set in Glascow, Casim (Atta Yaqub) is a young Pakistani DJ aspiring to become the owner of his own club. He lives at home with his parents and two sisters. The Ruksana (Ghizala Avan) the older sister is almost defiantly traditional in her Muslim views, while content to live in Glasgow; while his younger sister Tahara (Shabana Bakhsh) is more independent, preferring to characterize herself as a Glaswegian who also happens to be Muslim.

Ignoring his arranged engagement to a cousin back in Pakistan, Casim finds himself attracted to Roisin (Eva Birthistle), a music teacher at a Catholic school. As their relationship grows, it's threatened by the collision of Muslim and Catholic bigotry. There is further tension between Tahara and her parents regarding her goal of becoming a journalist, versus her parents desire for her to become a doctor.

From this premise, the filmmakers could have followed the lighter path of Bend It Like Beckham, instead they follow the more complicated (and probably more realistic) journey that takes Casim and Roisin through a number of conflicts between themselves, his family, the Muslim community and the Catholic Church. The film succeeds by not providing simple answers to complicated questions, and I suspect that some people may not necessarily be thrilled with the movie's resolution.

The acting is marvelous throughout, with every cast member offering a performance that avoids stereotype and caricature. The story doesn't always progress smoothly, however the pacing is fine. A Fond Kiss makes for a very thoughtful and enjoyable movie"
"Will you still love me when I'm old and grey"?
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/09/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Ken Loach's A Fond Kiss raises some serious cross cultural issues, and the movie does it in a way that, in traditional Ken Loach style, is totally naturalistic. Set in Glasgow, this engaging and finely observed drama is about what happens when lovers from different cultures dare to flout traditional taboos and decide to become a couple. At the end of the film, most viewers will probably be left with the feeling that their battle has just begun - the religious and cultural mores in this part of the world are often an uneasy mix of tolerance and isolationism, so from the outset, this intercultural couple will well and truly have their work cut out for them.

The movie begins when Casim Khan (Atta Yaqub), a second-generation Pakistani immigrant living with his devoutly Muslim family in Glasgow, meets Roisin Murphy (Eva Birthistle), a spirited blond music teacher who works in the local Catholic school. When Casim tries to protect his younger sister, Tahara (Shabana Bakhsh), from schoolyard taunts, he accidentally bursts in on Roisin while she is giving a lesson. He is immediately attracted to her, she reciprocates the affection, and it's not long before they are sleeping together and holidaying romantically in Spain.

Casim is a lean, fiery, and sexy young man, who works in his parents' corner grocery store and moonlights as a club D.J. He is currently scheming with his best friend, Hammid (Shy Ramsan), to raise the money to open his own nightclub, and he is constantly trying to line up investors in London. Roisin is a free-spirited and independent Irish Catholic girl, a refugee from a short failed marriage that has yet to be officially dissolved. Both are resolute, unyielding, and determined individuals who don't like being pushed around by authority, and by each other.

When Roisin is offered a permanent job, she must obtain a certificate of approval of her powerful parish priest (Gerard Kelly). He is an orthodox, chain-smoking, and fiery Catholic, who uncompromisingly screams at Roisin about her sinful affair, and angrily condescends to her for living with a Muslim. This confrontation is one of the most pivotal, powerful, and scorching in the film.

The deeper quarrel, however, is with Casim's culturally conservative parents, who have arranged for Casim to marry his Indian first cousin. Stuck in the past, Casim's father, Tariq (Ahmad Riaz) is a fulminating patriarch whom is intent on defending the traditional Moslem traditions: he bans Tahara from going to Edinburgh University to study journalism because it would take her away from Glasgow and away from his sphere of control; he also builds an special wing onto his house in a fanatical and fixated effort to keep Casim at home. The future of the Khans' oldest daughter, Rukhsana (Ghizala Avan), whose arranged marriage to an ideal partner has been set, is jeopardized by Casim's rebellion, which would put a blemish on the family name.

Unlike a lot of other cross-cultural domestic dramas that paint traditionalism as a kind of scornful impediment to Western modernism, A Fond Kiss cleverly imbues sympathy and commiseration for both sides. Viewers will appreciate that there will probably be devastating consequences for the Khan family if Casim and Tahara go their own ways, but also understand that one should be able to follow one's own dreams and love whomever one wants.

A Fond Kiss is heavily schematic, and has been told before in countless contemporary British melodramas, but what makes this film so special, and sets it apart, is the strong, naturalistic, and absolutely gorgeously nuanced performances from the entire cast. You feel Tariq's raging alarm that his son's defiance will bring an end to the social order, as he knows it. And we sympathize with Carim's horror at being stultified in a straitjacketed existence, paying lip service to the values and a culture that he no longer cares for.

We also empathize with Roisin and her almost blindsided lack of understanding of Carim's dilemma. She is naïve of the effect that British racism has ultimately had on Tariq, and she just can't perceive that Carim's family will never sanctify and bless their relationship. A Fond Kiss presents an age-old story, but it is told with fine, contemporary, and intelligent insight. The movie shows, with astonishing realism, what can happen when young, modern Western people, can get caught up in the ghosts of their parents' cultural, traditional, and time-honored past. Mike Leonard April 05.