May 19, 2009 / 10:18 PM / in 9 years

Tarantino, Brad Pitt to bring WW2 film to Cannes

CANNES, France (Reuters) - U.S. director Quentin Tarantino brings his eagerly awaited World War Two movie “Inglourious Basterds” to the Cannes film festival on Wednesday, with Brad Pitt adding some star power to the red carpet. The movie, which borrows its title from Italian director Enzo Castellari’s 1978 picture “Inglorious Bastards,” is one of 20 entries in the main competition.

Director Quentin Tarantino waves as he arrives on the red carpet for the screening of the film "Vengeance" at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival May 17, 2009. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

Tarantino, a favorite in the French Riviera resort, won the coveted Palme d’Or in 1994 with “Pulp Fiction,” and rushed to have his latest movie ready in time to present to the jury. It has been in the works for more than 10 years.

“I like that it’s the power of the cinema that fights the Nazis,” Tarantino said in production notes distributed in Cannes before the movie’s world premiere.

Pitt’s expected presence will be welcome by many of the thousands of reporters in Cannes, where the world’s biggest film festival is in its second week. It ends with a prize ceremony on Sunday.

While critics say the quality of the main selection of films has been generally high, the absence of many A-list stars and celebrities has starved Cannes of some of its usual buzz.

Inglourious Basterds is described as a revenge story, a recurring theme at this year’s festival with Hong Kong’s Johnnie To presenting “Vengeance” in the main competition and several more films revolving around retribution.

Tarantino’s film is set in the first year of the German occupation of France, where character Shosanna Dreyfus witnesses the execution of her family at the hands of a Nazi colonel.

Elsewhere in Europe, Pitt’s character Aldo Raine forms a group of Jewish-American soldiers to wreak revenge on German forces.

Diane Kruger plays an undercover agent on a mission to take down the leaders of the Third Reich, and eventually the separate strands converge.

The other competition film to premiere on Wednesday is “Les Herbes Folles” (Wild Grass), a light-hearted comedy by 86-year-old Frenchman Alain Resnais who brought his “Hiroshima, Mon Amour” to Cannes 50 years ago.

(Additional reporting by James Mackenzie; Editing by Matthew Jones)

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