Tarantino returns to Cannes with serial killer flick
American film director Quentin Tarantino returned to the Cannes Film Festival this week with Death Proof, his new movie wrapping up a story about a brutal pathological serial killer into a 1970's-style road movie.
His car is death proof, Mike the Stuntman played by Kurt Russell tells his female victims. That is, death proof, he explains, only when it comes to him. But he eventually meets his match when a group of savvy women decide to take on their stalker and tormentor.
In a trade mark performance bordering on the manic, Tarantino told his press conference in Cannes that he had originally wanted to make an old-fashion slasher movie. But instead of a knife he chose a car as the killer's weapon.
"In slasher films the final girl always stands up (to the killer) at the end," he said.
Death Proof - A Grindhouse Film caps a long association between Cannes and the 44-year-old director, who won the festival's coveted Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) for Pulp Fiction in 1994.
This came two years after his critically acclaimed Reservoir Dogs, which propelled Tarantino onto the world cinema stage.
Tarantino has also served as chairman of the Cannes jury and his Kill Bill was shown out of competition at the festival.
Once again Tarantino, who himself has a cameo role in the film as barman called Warren, never shies away from violence with action movie-style car scenes and his victims suffering a brutally graphic end.
That said, however, apart from the tensions surrounding the story, the violence in Death Proof tends to be somewhat limited.
Drawing on the B-movie genre of filmmaking, Death Proof is essentially part of a two-part movie feature - the other being a zombie film directed by Robert Rodriguez, called Planet Terror - A Grindhouse Film.
Both movies are a tribute to the largely long-forgotten so-called grindhouse market, which represents an icon of American pop culture - the drive-in movie theatre double feature.
With many old grindhouse movies now available on DVDs and having become cult films, Tarantino wants his audience to have the grindhouse experience though Death Proof.
"I love grindhouse," he said. "I want to keep grindhouse special.
"In particular," he said, "my job is to be like the conductor of a symphony orchestra."
In other words, he said, to make the audience react, similar to a revival tent religious experience.
With five of the 22 films competing for the 2007 Palme d'Or from the US, America's independent movie makers are hoping that this will be the year that Cannes decides to celebrate the nation's directors by awarding one of their films the festival's top honours.
Indeed, Tarantino gave a V-for-victory sign as his press conference in Cannes got underway.
"I consider myself to be a favourite son of Cannes," he said.
Cannes, he said, "is where the Gods go, it is where the greatest films that are made go. It is where the greatest directors go. It is a place of royalty."
As for his current plans, Tarantino said: "I am really dying to get on to my script."