Saturday 23 September 2017

Loach: I get more nervous each year

Ken Loach has confessed he gets more nervous every time he shows a film at the Cannes Film Festival, despite holding the record for being the most invited filmmaker of all time.

The 77-year-old British director's latest film, period political drama Jimmy's Hall, is his 12th to be screened at the festival and he has won nine prizes at Cannes including the 30th Anniversary Prize of the Ecumenical Jury for his life's work.

But Ken confessed to The Hollywood Reporter: "[I feel] m ore nervous as the years go on. It's high risk in terms of the consequences the audience can have and the critics there. You just cross your fingers and hope they find it OK. It's quite a nerve-racking few days.

He added: "The first thought is you hope it's not going to be a total disaster. It's anxiety. Anxiety about the showing and the worry that the projection will be good. The second anxiety is that I haven't made a load of old nonsense - and then the third is that you'll get through it all without making a complete a*** of yourself."

And the director was equally self- deprecating about holding the record as the most-invited filmmaker to the festival.

He said: "It's extraordinary really. I can't believe it. I think one thing that has been important is that I work with a writer and producer [Rebecca O'Brien], who are equal parts of the team so it's not down to one person; it's a collaborative collective. It's meant we have been able to work at a reasonable rate, which is good fortune."

Jimmy's Hall, about a fighter for freedom of speech in church-dominated 1920s Ireland, is Ken's largest-scale production ever, and he has previously said it will be his last narrative film.

But Ken said: "I kind of thought I wouldn't get through another one just as we were beginning Jimmy's Hall because it's a moment of maximum pressure when you haven't shot a thing, but you're kn*****ed from all the prep and you've been away from home for a long time and you still have to get through the shoot. It's quite a daunting prospect - the effort you've got to find from somewhere and the nervous and emotional energy and all that.

"So it just seemed too daunting, but now having come out the other side, while I'm not sure we'll get another of that size, [we'll] at least get a little film together of some sort [with writer Paul Laverty] more akin to a documentary scale. There's nothing on the horizon yet."

He added: "I think it's a scale thing. The bigger the scale, the more exhausting the prospect it is, so a small contemporary film may be a possibility. When you're at the wrong end of your 70s, everything is a challenge."

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