Sony Pictures Classics has acquired North American rights to Ken Loach’s Jimmy’s Hall two days ahead of its world premiere in competition at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival. It marks yet another buy from a very visible Sony Classics impression on Cannes this year. The boutique side of Sony recently purchased two other films showing in competition – the biopic Saint Laurent and the Argentinean thriller Wild Tales - and brought the eagerly anticipated Bennett Miller film Foxcatcher, to have its premiere at Cannes after being delayed from an awards qualifying run last fall. This bid of confidence for Loach’s latest film may be a tad sweeter as it’s rumored to be final feature film from the British iconoclast, who has flirted with the idea of retirement.
Throughout Loach’s impressive career, he has become internationally renowned for his non-fussy, naturalistic takes on socially conscientious subjects. Jimmy’s Hall, his latest historical drama, seems to follow suit even though it was the director’s largest production ever. His latest follows the true story of Irish activist Jimmy Gralton (Barry Ward.) Gralton built a dance hall in rural Ireland during the 1920s and after a decade-long trip to the United States returns home to a shooting occurring in his hall; he was later arrested and deported back to the United States. The film was written by Paul Laverty, based on the play by Donal O’Kelly.
Jimmy’s Hall marks Loach’s twelfth appearance in competition at Cannes, an all-time record. He won the Palme D’Or in 2006 with The Wind That Shakes the Barley, a war film that featured Cillian Murphy. He last appeared at the festival with The Angels’ Share in 2012, where he won the Jury Prize. Sony Classics hasn’t made public any news of a release strategy, but that may all depend on the reaction the film receives after its world premiere.