Entertainment & Arts

Ken Loach and Sean Penn to compete at Cannes

Pedro Almodovar, Ken Loach and Sean Penn Image copyright EPA/AP/Getty Images
Image caption Almodovar, Loach and Penn's films are among 20 in contention for the festival's top award

New films from Ken Loach, Sean Penn and Pedro Almodovar are among the 20 titles in contention for the Cannes Film Festival's top honour next month.

Loach's I, Daniel Blake, Penn's The Last Face and Almodovar's Julieta will all compete for the Palme d'Or award.

Britain's Andrea Arnold is one of three women directors included in the French festival's main competition line-up.

It also includes a number of previous Palme d'Or winners, among them Belgian siblings Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne.

The brothers, who won the award in 1999 and again in 2005, are shortlisted once more for The Unknown Girl.

US directors Jeff Nichols and Jim Jarmusch are among other directors whose new films have been selected by organisers.

Nichols' Loving tells of a mixed race couple facing racism in 1950s Virginia, while Jarmusch's Paterson sees Star Wars actor Adam Driver playing a bus-driving poet.

This year's event, which runs from 11 to 22 May, will open with a screening of Woody Allen's new comedy Cafe Society.

Steven Spielberg's The BFG, Jodie Foster's Money Monster and The Nice Guys, starring Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, will also screen out of competition.

Iggy Pop documentary Gimme Danger, also directed by Jarmusch, has been given a midnight screenings slot.

Other films up for the Palme d'Or include Paul Verhoeven's Elle, Nicolas Winding Refn's The Neon Demon and Agassi, the latest from South Korea's Park Chan-Wook.

The recipient of the "Golden Palm" will be decided by a jury chaired by George Miller, the Australian creator of the Mad Max series.

Image copyright Sony
Image caption Money Monster sees Clooney (centre) play a financial TV host involved in a hostage situation

Almodovar's inclusion comes in the wake of the Spanish director being recently cited in the leaked Panama tax papers.

Last month the film-maker cancelled interviews for Julieta - about a mother's 10-year search for her daughter - after he and his brother Agustin were listed in the files.

I, Daniel Blake - about a joiner who needs support from the state after falling ill - sees Loach, a festival regular, back in the main competition again.

The 79-year-old won the Palme d'Or in 2006 with The Wind That Shakes the Barley and was last at the festival in 2014 with Jimmy's Hall, believed at the time to be his last dramatic feature.

Arnold's American Honey tells of a teenage girl who runs away with a travelling sales crew and becomes involved in the group's hard-partying lifestyle.

Stars expected to grace the red carpet include Money Monster actors George Clooney and Julia Roberts and Penn's former girlfriend Charlize Theron, whom he directed in The Last Face.

Jodie Foster's film sees Clooney play a financial TV host involved in a hostage situation, while Penn's latest - his fifth feature as a director - is a romance set among aid workers in Africa.

The 17 films in the Un Certain Regard sidebar were also announced on Thursday by festival chiefs Pierre Lescure and Thierry Fremaux.

Some commentators have remarked on the apparent omission of On the Milky Road, the latest film from Serbia's two-time Palme d'Or recipient Emir Kusturica.

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