I've been a Ken Loach fan ever since I saw Kes. I tend to think of that film now as the
million-times-better precursor to Billy Elliott ( I couldn't be doing with that schmaltzy
effort). Loach is the king of social realism that hits you where it hurts, and yet
leaves you with a lingering sense of having seen something special.
Not that some of the staff at my local video shop share my sentiments though - last
time I went to hire one of his films I was greeted with Er Ner!! Not Ken Lerch!!'
The film in question then was Sweet Sixteen, a bleak tale of drug abuse and poverty set
on a Glasgow sink estate. Loach's genius is summed up in the bitterness of that title.
A story of a boy growing up with drug addicted parents, who turns to drug dealing to
buy his mother a caravan by the sea.
However he ends up getting addicted himself,
with an inevitable unhappy ending. As often happens in reality.
Anyway, back to this latest film. Ae Fond Kiss is a contemporary love story about a
The film's quaint title is taken from a Robert Burns poem, of which we hear, as
a song, in the film.
The relationship is between Casim, a second generation Pakistani Muslim ,
and Roisin, a Catholic school teacher.
Yes, you've guessed it, his parents have strict traditional values and have
betrothed him to his beautiful cousin.
He is due to marry her in 9 weeks..and
his parents would never allow him to marry Roisin, a goree (white girl).
Roisin experiences prejudice from her side too, and she is made to transfer
to another school when it is discovered she is living with a Muslim.
Although some of the accents in Loach's films are often thicker than the heads
that sport Burberry caps, I usually find the dialogue convincing.
But not so with Ae Fond Kiss.
For some reason it just didn't ring true in parts, and felt like either Loach
had not done his homework or was resorting to lazy turns of phrase.
The film suffered from a lack of chemistry between the two actors. I don't know,
maybe they just didn't fancy each other. Their characters also didn't seem to have a
lot in common from what I could see, and the relationship wasn't given enough time to develop.
I think this could have been partly solved by making the film a bit longer - 1 hour 44
minutes wasn't enough to deal with such a complex issue and tortured affair.
Not that I'm suggesting that any film featuring Asian people should be about 4 hours
long and involve lots of shoulder dancing..I love some of the Bollywood films,
but they're soo long!!
Maybe it coincides with the time taken to cook a 3 course Indian meal??
Loach has resorted to some rather predictable cultural stereotypes in places.
The plot is one that has been done many times before..although I suppose the
fact that the character of Roisin also had problems relating to her Catholic
status added a different slant on things.
Some stories like these feature one religious and one non-religious person.
In my opinion the film ended in a rather too optimistic and improbable fashion.
I don't think this would be the most realistic outcome in real life today.
Periodically during the film I was struck by Roisin's naivete about his religion and culture.
Maybe my own experiences have made me more aware of this than most people - I have
been out with Muslims but not so involved as to get entangled in all the
business of religion and culture clashes.
Ken Loach? An optimistic tone? I can't help feeling that the old boy's gone soft.
Maybe a dead bird or a used syringe here and there might have given it his more
familiar trademark of hopelessness and despair that we all know and love..I
wonder what's next?
Could he be going the way of Ben Elton, once the cutting edge voice of the
left wing comedy rant? We all know what happened..joined forces with
Andrew Lloyd Webber and started making musicals..oh dear..
Maybe Ken's next project will be something like this - Heroin - The Musical or
Seven Kids to Seven Fellas.
All set to the same backdrop of derelict tower blocks and broken bus shelters, of course.
Nah - I love Ken really.. I just think he should maybe stick to birds and drugs.
Sounds like a good life for any filmmaker if you ask me..
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Autobiographical tales don't come much more nail-biting than this living nightmare, recalled
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and Shakespeare's are glaring - an original cast of 51 is slashed to just 6 actors
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Starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx, this rollercoasting thrill-ride is
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dogs and the first pangs of Autumn strike the air.
Tom, like his ex-wife Nicole Kidman, never seems to stop working
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around America in search of exciting new people, places and - above else -
Confining her extensive travels to the Eastern side of North America and,
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Born in 1946, it was in the early seventies that Mick first became well known
through his work with David Bowie, with ace guitarist Mick
Reviews, Theatre - Gaffer! at York Theatre Royal By Nick Quantrill
Gaffer! is a one-man black-comedy which sees Deka Walmsley deliver a convincing
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The central character is George, manager of struggling Northbridge Town.
George and Northbridge Town are old school. George has strong socialist values
Reviews, Films - Alien VS Predator By Steve Rudd
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Whereas the bulk of the Alien franchise has long relied on
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Reviews, Books - The Promise of Bruce Springsteen by Eric Alterman. Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Brucie, we need you - and more than ever!
A true rock 'n' roll star in every sense and then some, Bruce has had a truly staggering career in the music business, and even as we maniacally rush headlong into the 21st Century he is more popular than ever.
This biography of