Ken Loach sends Iraq war film into Cannes battle

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Britain's Ken Loach sought Wednesday to match the Oscar success of "The Hurt Locker" when he sent his own Iraq war film into the race for the Cannes top prize.

"Route Irish," named after the most dangerous stretch of road in Iraq that leads from the airport to Baghdad's Green Zone, gets a press screening at the French Riviera film festival a day ahead of its red carpet premiere.

Loach, who scooped the top prize at Cannes in 2006 with a film about Ireland's fight for independence from British rule, only entered "Route Irish" into the Cannes race a couple of days before the festival kicked off last week.

The film follows two British former soldiers who go to Iraq as private security contractors.

When one is killed on Route Irish in mysterious circumstances, his friend -- wracked by guilt -- rejects the official explanation and tries to find out what really happened.

Loach, whose "Route Irish" is one of 19 films vying for the Palme d'Or to be handed out on Sunday, last year entered "Looking For Eric" for the top prize at Cannes.

That movie starred former Manchester United football star Eric Cantona as the imaginary mentor of a Manchester postman down on his luck.

Loach is the second British director in this year's race, the other being Mike Leigh who is presenting "Another Year."

© 2010 AFP

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