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Cannes: Lights, Camera, Direct Action

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One week in and the team are still bearing up... just! We decided to have a night off - which in Cannes meant we watched a film. So we ordered pizzas and sat down to watch iLL Manors - Ben Drew aka Plan B's new film. Maybe not the wisest film choice for a night of switching off/escapism.

It's been dubbed a hip-hop musical but it's more of a gritty drama about six people - the main character Aaron, a junkie, an ex-con, a gangster, a prostitute and a drug dealer. The film is harrowing and maybe a bit too close to reality for some viewers, but the direction occasionally comes across as shocking for the sake of being shocking. It did, however, make us sit up and take notice... and wince.

I met up with Ben (he likes to use his real name for his film career!) at the Majestic Beach. Ironic that our setting couldn't be further from the harsh streets of east London where the film was set and Ben grew up. I never thought I'd be in Cannes talking social activism with Plan B?!

He says that he's trying to pack a punch with his film and wants it to 'slap people in the face' so they sit up and see what's happening in society.

"I think my favourite films and favourite albums have shaped me as a person - they've shaped me as an artist. That's the reason I choose to talk about a subject matter like this other than some of the more generic issues that are so prominent in popular music and film."

Ben definitely wanted to cause a storm... I'd just left one! A sandstorm. Half an hour earlier I'd been down the road interviewing 'fitty' but 'shorty', Gael Garcia Bernal. He took a very keen interest in my producer Poppy who impressed him with her latin lingo! Damn it... why didn't I pay attention in Spanish class?! He was joined by director Pablo Larrain... and boy did la rain come down. The weather in Cannes definitely isn't what I signed up for. The boys and I were caught in a torrential downpour following the sandstorm. Try talking to one of the sexiest men on the planet with grit in your teeth. Nice. Theirs is another provocative film. 'No' is about an advertising exec who has to create a referendum TV campaign to persuade people to say 'No' to voting for Pinochet. Gael says that he consciously chooses films that are political and will get people talking.

"All the films I've done have a political aspect to them. I've surrendered to and celebrate the fact that human stories have a political complexity."

When asked if he'd ever fancy working in politics his honesty made me fall a little bit more in love with him.

"Sometimes I say what I'm thinking and in politics you can't do that. That's the first thing you shouldn't do. You need to think twice about what you say."

Tell me about it. Right got to dash... off to chat to Ken Loach - a man whose films always have something to say.

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