Ken Loach (left) and Mike Leigh were last up against each other in the official Cannes competition in 2010

Two British directors will be up against each other for the prestigious Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Both Cannes veterans – indeed Palme d’Or winners – this will be Ken Loach’s eighteenth time screening a film at the festival. Indeed, despite it being relatively rare for any British directors to feature in competition in Cannes, the same two directors were previously up against each other in 2010.

This year entries are Jimmy’s Hall, from Ken Loach, which is based on the true story of a Irish communist who ran a dance hall, and Mr Turner, in which Mike Leigh’s regular collaborator Timothy Spall stars as the painter JMW Turner.

Loach won the top honour for another Irish-themed film, The Wind that Shakes the Barley, in 2006 and Leigh took the Palme d’Or ten years earlier, for Secrets and Lies.

Their rivals this year include the latest films from David Cronenberg, the Dardenne brothers, Olivier Assayas, Atom Egoyan, Jean-Luc Godard, Michel Hazanavicius and Tommy Lee Jones, all of whom have had films in the running for the Palme d’Or in previous years, signalling the Cannes committee’s continuing trend for honouring friends of the festival.

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