Steve McQueen's Hunger about IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands is to open the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes.

The film was a surprise ommission when the festival line-up was announced last week but its presence was confirmed today.

British artist McQueen co-wrote the screenplay with award-winning playwright Enda Walsh (Disco Pigs).

The film stars Michael Fassbender, seen in 300 and Francois Ozon's Angel.

The film has been co-financed by Channel 4, Northern Ireland Screen and the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland.

'Hunger will be a film with international contemporary resonance. The body as site of political warfare is becoming a more familiar phenomenon,' McQueen said on launching the project.

'What I want to convey is something you can't find in books or archive: the ordinariness and extraordinariness of life in this prison. Yet also the film is an abstraction in a certain way, a meditation on what it is like to die for a cause.'

Last month, Laura Hastings-Smith, one of the producers of Hunger, was
chosen to attend Cannes as part of European Film Promotions' 'Producers On The Move' initiative.

Full Un Certain Regard line-up

Tokyo!, dir: Bong Joon Ho, Leos Carax, Michel Gondry (France)

*Afterschool, dir: Antonio Campos (US)

*Ting Che, dir: Chung Mong-Hong (Taiwan)

Soi Cowboy, dir: Thomas Clay (UK)

La Vie Moderne (Profils Paysans), dir: Raymond Depardon (France)

Wolke 9, dir: Andreas Dresen (Germany)

*Tulpan, dir: Sergey Dvortsevoy (Germany)

Los Bastardos, dir: Amat Escalante (Mexico)

Chelsea On The Rocks, dir: Abel Ferrara (US)

Je Veux Voir, dir: Joana Hadjithomas, Khalil Joreige (France)

O' Horten, dir: Bent Hamer (Norway-Germany)

*Milh Hadha Al-Bahr, dir: Annemarie Jacir (Palestine)

Tokyo Sonata, dir: Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Japan)

Yi Ban Haishui, Yi Ban Huoyan, dir: Fendou Liu (China)

*A Festa Da Menina Morta, dir: Matheus Nachtergaele (Brazil)

Hunger, dir: Steve McQueen (UK)

De Ofrivilliga, dir: Ruben Ostlund (Sweden)

Wendy And Lucy: dir: Kelly Reichardt (US)

Johnny Mad Dog, dir: Jean-Stephane Sauvaire (France)

*Versailles, dir: Pierre Schoeller (France)

Tyson, dir: James Toback (US)

*denotes first film, eligible for the Camera d'Or