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Will 'Jimmy's Hall' Be Ken Loach's Last? Sony Snags the Film Ahead of Cannes Premiere

Photo of Ryan Lattanzio By Ryan Lattanzio | TOH! May 20, 2014 at 5:21PM

Brit director and master of kitchen sink realism Ken Loach is a Cannes Competition mainstay. Sony has just acquired his latest film "Jimmy's Hall" ahead of its Croisette premiere. But will it be his last?
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Ken Loach
Ken Loach

Sony Pictures Classics has scooped up North American rights to Ken Loach's period drama "Jimmy's Hall" -- two days before it bows in the Main Competition at Cannes. Wild Bunch handled the sale.

Whenever Ken Loach has a new film in the works, you can bet your bottom dollar it will premiere at Cannes. The Brit director and master of kitchen sink realism has been a Cannes Competition mainstay since "Black Jack" won the fest's coveted FIPRESCI Prize in 1979. "Jimmy's Hall," his latest, will make its way to the Croisette this week. But will it be his last? (Trailer below.)

In 2012, his admirable if saccharine crime comedy "The Angels' Share" snapped up the Jury Prize, and in 2006 he won the Palme d'Or for the Irish historical drama "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," starring Cillian Murphy. Penned by longtime collaborator Paul Laverty, "Jimmy's Hall" will of course be competing for the Palme, and it marks Loach's return to the period piece: it's a portrait of Irish communist and activist James Gralton (played by Barry Ward) who became a US citizen in 1909 after becoming the only Irishmen ever to be deported from the Emerald Isle.

Last year, producer Rebecca O'Brien told Screen Daily that "Jimmy's Hall" will likely be Loach's final film, though he has "a few documentary ideas kicking around." For his departure, Loach wanted to craft a serious-minded, deeply moving drama firmly rooted in history. 

If this is, indeed, his last film, he'll certainly be missed, not only at Cannes but within the filmmaking community. At the Riviera Maya Film Festival in Mexico earlier this year, Peter Sarsgaard said that of all living directors, Loach is the one he'd like to work with most.

But who knows? Directors come in and out of retirement all the time, and he may go the Soderbergh route and find other creative outlets for his storied vision.

This article is related to: Cannes Film Festival, Cannes, Festivals, Ken Loach, Trailers, Trailers


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.