Tarantino and Pitt in Cannes for Nazi-slaying caper

Wed May 20, 2009 4:39pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

CANNES, France (Reuters) - U.S. director Quentin Tarantino rolls a Western, gangster flick and wartime caper into one in "Inglourious Basterds," a new film starring Brad Pitt as the leader of a ruthless gang of Nazi-slayers. So fearsome is the band of Jewish-American "bastards" that Adolf Hitler himself comes to hear of them, and the violent and action-packed narrative weaves real life figures into a riotous and fanciful plot that re-writes history.

Most of the dialogue is in German and French and translated with subtitles, possibly limiting the film's box office potential in the United States.

But at the Cannes film festival, where Tarantino's picture is in the main competition, there was warm applause after a press screening on Wednesday.

"I am not an American film maker, I make movies for the planet Earth and Cannes is the place that represents that," said the 46-year-old, who won the Palme d'Or in Cannes in 1994 with "Pulp Fiction."

"During this time here on the Riviera, cinema matters, it's important," he told reporters, explaining why he rushed to have his movie ready in time for the world's biggest film festival.

Early reviews have been mixed.

Hollywood publication Variety's Todd McCarthy said the movie improved halfway through, "after which it's off to the races," but Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian called it a "catastrophe" and like "some colossal armor-plated turkey from hell."

Actress Angelina Jolie, wearing a pale pink dress baring one shoulder, walked the red carpet with her partner Pitt before the world premiere, and Sharon Stone added further glamour to a festival seen as light on A-list stars.   Continued...

<p>(R-L) Director Quentin Tarantino poses with cast members Diane Kruger and Brad Pitt during a photocall for the film "Inglourious Basterds" at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 20, 2009. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau</p>