Cannes Film Festival - reviews

Loach's late-picked Route Irish, Our Life and Fair Game

Text by: Rosslyn Hyams
2 min

Three films at the Cannes film festival in the official competition selection are screening today. Why three instead of two? Because one is the much-awaited last-minute selection from British director Ken Loach.


Previous big prize Golden Palm winner at Cannes in 2006 for the Wind that Shakes the Barley, Loach is known for his hard-hitting films on social and political questions.

Now he turns his camera on the fall-out from war in Iraq.

Route Irish is named after a military service road for Baghdad where one of the two security contractor heroes, Frankie, is killed. His old friend, Fergus, returns to Liverpool and tries to find out what really happened to his mate.

From Italy, La Nostra Vita (Our Life) is a love story which also touches on corruption in the building business. It’s directed by Daniele Luchetti who won the Cannes Film Festival’s Caméra d’Or for a first film in 1988.

Its protagonists are a family where one brother is a police officer and the other is a mid-level construction manager with ambitions.

He discovers the body of an immigrant worker buried on a building site, which he covers up in order to climb the career ladder. Then his wife dies in childbirth. There could be a moral to this story told in a loud and busy way.

Last but not least, a very mainstream US film from Doug Liman, whose title Fair Game is taken from the tell-all book by Valerie Plame.

Plame was a CIA agent, whose husband, a retired ambassador, dared to challenge the Bush government’s justification for invading Iraq in 2003. Plame took the rap. Naomi Watts and Sean Penn star.

Meanwhile the parallel festivals start to wind down. It’s the end of the Semaine de la critique, the Critics’ Week, where there has been such a broad range of first and second films from all over the world. After their exposure at Cannes, many of these films are now bidding for those sought-after places in cinema halls.

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