Long-awaited Hope and Glory sequel heads to Cannes

PARIS (AFP) - British director John Boorman's long-awaited sequel to his 1987 Oscar-nominated film Hope and Glory about homefront life during World War II is to be screened in Cannes next month.

More than 25 years after Hope and Glory was a critical and box office success, Queen and Country picks up its semi-autobiographical story in the early 1950s with schoolboy Billy Rowan now a young soldier in Korea at the end of the conflict there.

The keenly anticipated film, co-starring David Thewlis and Richard E. Grant, will be shown as part of the independent Directors' Fortnight programme running alongside the Cannes Film Festival on the French Riviera.

The hugely successful Hope and Glory depicted the war from the perspective of young Billy as he revelled in the excitement of bombs and upheaval, oblivious to the suffering endured by his mother and sisters.

In the follow-up, Boorman, 81, has drawn on his own stint as a soldier doing compulsory national service at the start of the 1950s, a period blighted by the aftermath of the war when food rationing was still in place.

Frequently cited in polls as one of the best British films of recent decades, Hope and Glory received five nominations at the 1988 Academy Awards including best director and best picture.

Also among the 19 feature films announced on Tuesday for the Directors' Fortnight is a restored version of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre marking the slasher film's 40th anniversary. Tobe Hooper's 1974 horror movie about a group of friends who run into a family of cannibals was originally banned in several countries because of its violence.

But the low-budget film - made by Hooper for less than US$300,000 - went on to become a box office smash leading to a hugely profitable and long-running franchise.

Continuing the British theme, meanwhile, the Fortnight also finds space for US director Frederick Wiseman's National Gallery and Matthew Warchus's Pride.

From Asia slots also go to The Tale of Princess Kaguya, an animated film by Japan's veteran filmmaker Isao Takahata, and A Hard Day, a crime thriller by South Korea's up-and-coming Kim Seong Hoon.