17-05-2009

FNE at Festival De Cannes 2009: Competition Looking For Eric

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CANNES: British director Ken Loach has fulfilled a dream in making a film about football with Looking For Eric that stars the real life football star Eric Cantona alongside vetern British actor Steve Evets. Loach films do not tend to be star vehicles but Cantona drew as many cheers as Brad Pitt on the red carpet and his name is sure to bring this film more popularity at the box office than most Loach films.

The story is about the special relationship that Cantona has with his fans and the film came about when Cantona contacted Loach with the idea to make the film. Eric is a middle aged postman whose one passion and interest is football. As his life becomes increasingly chaotic and Eric seeks to make sense of it he begins an imaginary interior dialogue with his hero Eric Cantona. The relationship gives Eric the self confidence he lacks and eventually ends in inspiring him together with his football fan friends to confront the local bad guys and triumph over them.

Cantona plays himself in the film but the device works effectively and Loach's usual straightforward story telling style work to great advantage.

Loach is a familiar face on the red carpet and he won the Palme d'Or in 2006 for his film The Wind that Shakes the Barley. Asked why he had chosen to make a film about the Manchester football star which is a considerable departure from his usual subject matter Loach said the it was a dream come true for him.

He described Cantona as a natural star. ""He's original and bright and sharp and perceptive. He thinks a little outside the game and his jousts with journalists were always funny and witty. When Eric walks in a room you really know he's there. It's true of very few people but he's a man with considerable charisma and a magnetism. Actors talk about natural projection, in that you can communicate from the stage to the back of the auditorium without apparently doing anything. Eric did that on a football field - he communicated to 70,000 people. That's an extraordinary natural ability."

It looks like Cantona has scored a goal for Loach in this one.

Credits

Ken LOACH - Director

Paul LAVERTY - Screenplay

Barry ACKROYD, B.S.C - Cinematography

Fergus CLEGG - Set Designer

George FENTON - Music

Jonathan MORRIS - Film Editor

Ray BECKETT - Sound

Actors

Stephanie BISHOP - Lily

Eric CANTONA

Steve EVETS - Eric Bishop

John HENSHAW - Meatballs

Lucy-Jo HUDSON - Sam

Justin MOORHOUSE - Spleen