Ken Loach 'saved my life', says star of Cannes film

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Paul Brannigan, the street-cast young star of Ken Loach's new Glasgow-set comedy "The Angel's Share", told the Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday that the picture probably saved his life.

The bittersweet comedy tells the story of Robbie, a jobless youth, in and out of jail, who becomes desperate for a way to break the cycle of violence after becoming a father, and finds it in the Scottish art of whisky-making.

Speaking after a warmly-received screening of the film, one of 22 in competition for the Palme d'Or top prize, the 25-year-old Brannigan told a press conference how he was approached by Loach's screenwriter Paul Flaverty.

"I was working on a community centre, working with kids and Paul came and spoke to me one day," said the young Glaswegian.

"Things were tough, I had no money," he said. "It was Christmas time, and I got a loan which I wanted to pay back, and I thought well, if I make a couple of hundred quid, that will see me through," explained the young actor.

"Hands-up I would say they probably saved my life," he said. "Because who knows what I'd have done for money, who knows what I would have done."

Brannigan said he was "very familiar" with the themes of the movie, which tells of a motley gang of kids doing community service for petty offences, who are introduced to the world of fine whisky by their social worker, Big Harry.

"My background was quite rough. I'm very familiar with it," he said. "In all honesty there are thousands like me in Glasgow with the same story, the same situation: unemployed, people with no education who can't get employment.

"After this I'm unemployed, that's just the way it is," he told reporters.

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