Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Loach, Leigh, Cronenberg and (gasp!) Godard in Cannes Competition

Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall, an Irish co-production, will be among the films competing for the Palme d’Or next month.

Thu, Apr 17, 2014, 13:43


There weren’t too many shocks when the runners for the main competition at the Cannes Film Festival were announced this morning. Of the 10 films we predicted yesterday, only Roy Andersson’s A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Contemplating Existence and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman failed to make the grade. So, what is of interest? Well, though we approach the film with all due caution, it’s great to see that old eccentric Jean-Luc Godard back in contention with his 3-D puzzler (we’re betting) Adieu au Language. As far as anybody can remember, this is the first time three Canadians have been in the main competition: David Cronenberg, Atomo Egoyan and Xavier Dolan all step up to the plate. There are two films by female directors — Alice Rohrwacher’s Le Meraviglie is a surprise; Naomi Kawase’s Still the Water was expected — which is still far too few, but more than they managed in 2013 (1) and 2011 (0).

And, of course, as predicted, Mike Leigh and Ken Loach continue to find themselves locked in friendly combat. Leigh Mr Turner deals with the life of painter J M W Turner. Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall, a co-production by Element Pictures with support from The Irish Film Board, concerns the true story of a political activist in the early days of the Irish state. Ken has suggested that this might be his last ever film. We’ll see.

Though not the most austere we’ve seen in recent years, the competition will not allow many movie stars to parade down the red carpet. David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars features Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack and Robert Pattinson. Steve Carrell and Channing Tatum should be there for Bennett Miller’s intriguing Foxcatcher. Tommy Lee Jones’s tantalising The Homesman finds roles for Hilary Swank, Meryl Streep and, well, Tommy Lee Jones. The Dardenne brothers haven’t worked with many movie stars, but Marion Cotillard will be turning out for the boys in Two Days, One Night. For the most part, this is an impressive list of cinematic big beasts from the top end of the market.

Here’s the complete list:


Sils Maria, dir: Olivier Assayas

Saint Laurent, dir: Bertrand Bonello

Kis Uykusu, dir: Nuri Bilge Ceylon

Deux Jours, Une Nuit, dir: Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne

Mommy, dir: Xavier Dolan

Captives, dir: Atom Egoyan

Adieu au Langage, dir: Jean-Luc Godard

The Search, dir: Michel Hazanavicius

The Homesman, dir: Tommy Lee Jones

Futatsume No Mado, dir: Naomi Kawase

Mr. Turner, dir: Mike Leigh

Jimmy’s Hall, dir: Ken Loach

Foxcatcher, dir: Bennett Miller

Le Meraviglie, dir: Alice Rohrwacher

Maps to the Stars, dir: David Cronenberg

Timbuktu, dir: Abderrahmane Sissako

Relatos Salvajes, dir: Damian Szifron

Leviafan, dir: Andrey Zvyagintsev