The former Manchester United legend, famous for being the "wild man" of football and for his enigmatic utterances, plays himself in the film, shot entirely on location in Manchester.
Directed by Ken Loach, it was hailed a "crowd pleaser" at the Cannes film festival, and Cantona was cheered by around 100 fans as he arrived for the premier at the Vue Cinema at the Lowry Centre in Salford Quays, in the shadows of Old Trafford.
Speaking before the premiere showing, Cantona spoke of his old and new artistry.
"I had a great time in football, when I had enough, I decided to retire. Now, it's a new life for me," he said.
"It's the same kind of passion, you have to go out and find the confidence and with this confidence you can enjoy it, on the pitch or on the set.
"It is great to come back here, this movie, it's a way of sharing with the people a wonderful time I had here as a player and a wonderful time I had in the cinema since I left football."
The film tells the story of a postman called Eric who, when his life spirals out of control, turns to his hero Cantona for inspiration.
Ken Loach said of Cantona: "To begin with we were all in awe of him, but once you start work, you just work. He was very much a team player, he was just one of the gang."
Actor Steve Evets, who plays the 'other' Eric, said: "I was working with two living legends, Ken Loach and Eric Cantona, but on the same project.
"It doesn't get much better from an actor's point of view."
Paul Laverty, the Celtic-supporting script writer, said he wanted to make the film about the Hoops legendary number 7, Jimmy Johnstone, but working with Cantona, was great consolation.
He said: "He was a gem. He's a very, very modest man, a very bright man.
"I remember watching that press conference, many many years ago, the one with the seagulls, I laughed my head off and thought, that guy has got bottle, to face a press conference and come out with that.
"I thought also there was great mischief so I was really keen there was at the heart of the film, mischief and fun."
Looking for Eric is released on June 12.