New films from Mike Leigh and Ken Loach to compete at Cannes

A biopic of J.M.W. Turner and a story of political activism in 1920s Ireland are the British selections for this year’s Cannes Film Festival competition.

Samuel Wigley

Mr Turner (2014)

Mr Turner (2014)

Veteran British directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach will both be heading to the Cannes Film Festival this year to premiere their new films in competition.

Leigh’s eagerly awaited Mr Turner is a biopic of J.M.W. Turner starring Timothy Spall as the great British landscape artist, while Jimmy’s Hall finds Loach recreating 1920s Ireland for the story of a rural dance hall built by political activist Jimmy Gralton.

Both directors are previous recipients of the festival’s Palme d’or, with Leigh’s Secrets & Lies winning in 1996 and Loach’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley the winner in 2006. Leigh says: “It’s a great honour to be in competition in Cannes for the fifth time, and I’m over the moon!”

Announced by festival director Thierry Frémaux, the competition lineup pits the British films, both backed by the BFI Film Fund, against new works by Tommy Lee Jones, Michel Hazanavicius, Jean-Luc Godard, Olivier Assayas, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, and Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

Ben Roberts, Director of the BFI Film Fund says: “Congratulations to Mike and Ken, whose wonderful films will light up the Croisette with their colourful, transcendent reflections on life and love, politics and change, art and music. It’s been a privilege to work with two true masters of British cinema at their finest. Congratulations also to new British talent Andrew Hulme whose directorial debut, Snow in Paradise, is premiering in Un Certain Regard.”

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