shake the barley at Cannes

I see from IFTN that The Wind that Shakes the Barley has been selected for competition in the Cannes Film Festival (17-28 May, 2006).

The film’s title comes from an 19th century Irish romantic-political ballad, and is directed by Ken Loach and written by Paul Laverty. The film stars Irish actors Cillian Murphy (Batman Begins,
Red Eye
), Liam Cunningham (Showbands) and newcomer Padraic Delaney, and it focuses on the clashes between the British Black & Tans and the Irish Flying Columns rebels during the struggle for Irish independence in 1919.

Loach and Laverty have been working partners since 1996, and have established a certain practise of film-making that can produce naturalistic and stirring performances from the actors. The film is shot in sequence, and the actors receive their pages for each scene a short period before it is shot. Actors are not given the scenes in which they do not appear, and no one is shown the whole script in advance of the production.

I’m looking forward to seeing the film when it is released. I’d hazard a guess that it will crop up in the programme of the Galway Film Fleadh (11-16th July, 2006). Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend the Fleadh this year as I’ll be in Seattle.

The competition for Cannes features a lot of interesting titles, including Volver from Pedro Almovódar, Marie Antoinette by Sophia Coppola, Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro, Southland Tales by Richard Kelly, and Fast Food Nation by Richard Linklater (his sf film, A Scanner Darkly, is showing also, but out of competition).

As always, the Cannes Jury is an eclectic group of actors and directors from around the world, and its President this year is the Chinese director Wong Kar-Wai.

Best of luck to the dynamic Loach and Laverty duo at Cannes this year.

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