'Jimmy's Hall' leads Irish hopefuls at glitzy Cannes
THE stars have hit the red carpet of Cannes, while the Irish are pinning their hopes on the biggest prize of all.
A host of Hollywood stars were out in force last night, with actress Blake Lively showcasing a minuscule waist in a silver-spangled gown that would make Cinderella weep.
The American beauty was joined by acclaimed actress Julianne Moore. Also striking a pose on the red carpet were Russell Crowe and French 'aristocrat of chic' Ines de la Fressange.
But for the Irish, Cannes is a serious event, with a string of homemade productions being screened.
The Oscar-nominated Michael Fassbender musical comedy 'Frank' will premiere this weekend. But the Irish hopes for the Palme d'Or are resting with Ken Loach's 'Jimmy's Hall'.
Based on a play by Donal O'Kelly, the film centres around the true story of political activist Jimmy Gralton, who was deported by Eamon de Valera in the 1930s for alleged communist sympathies.
Shot over seven weeks in Leitrim and Sligo last summer, it stars Irish actors Barry Ward, Simone Kirby and Andrew Scott. Co-produced by the Irish Film Board, it will have its world premiere at the festival on May 22.
'Jimmy's Hall' marks a record 12th entry as director for 77-year-old Loach.
Another strong Irish contender for Cannes glory is John Boorman's autobiographical 'Queen and Country'.
A follow-up to the same director's Oscar-nominated 'Hope and Glory', it tells the story of a British soldier's experience in the Korean war.
Christina Noble starring 'Moone Boy' actress Deirdre O'Kane will be another Irish movie watched with much interest, since it tells the story of the well-known Irish charity worker whose own miserable childhood inspired her to work with impoverished children in Vietnam and Mongolia.