I have never seen a Ken Loach film, but if I time things properly I will be seeing his latest feature, Route Irish as it was announced this morning as the nineteenth and final entry into the Competition category and will have its first screening on May 20.
Cannes General Delegate Thierry Fremaux commented on that addition saying, "The opportunity of adding another film to the Competition brings the total number of films presented to 19. So it is manageable and we decided to go for it."
He also points out this isn't the first time last minute additions have been made, and to impressive results. "Gilles Jacob included Yilmaz Güney and et Serif Gören's film Yol, Andej Wajda’s L'Homme de fer and Abbas Kiarostami's Le Goût de la cerise at the last minute. That's not the end of the story: all three won the Palme d'Or for that year. But we mustn't draw any conclusions."
Loach's Route Irish stars Mark Womack, Andrea Lowe and Trevor Williams and takes place in 2004 and centers on Fergus (ex-SAS) and Frankie (ex-Para), who is persuaded by Fergus to join his team in Iraq and earn £12,000 a month tax free as a private security contractor in an attempt to "load up" in the increasingly privatized Iraq War. When an accident befalls one of them at the Baghdad Airport Road, also known as "Route Irish", there seems to be more to the story as lessons from Iraq unravel in Liverpool in a film dealing with the consequences of the English involvement in Iraq.
I have added nine pictures from the film in the gallery here and hope my schedule finds time to fit this one in.