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Last Updated: Friday, 3 October, 2003, 07:55 GMT 08:55 UK
Tarantino defends Kill Bill violence
Uma Thurman
Filming was delayed for Uma Thurman's pregnancy
Director Quentin Tarantino and actress Uma Thurman arrived in London on Thursday for the UK première of Kill Bill: Volume 1.

They joined the film's co-stars Julie Dreyfus, Darryl Hannah and Michael Madsen for the British opening of Tarantino's controversial martial arts movie.

The director defended the film against accusations of graphic violence, saying it was so outlandish and bloody that it was obviously set in "fantasy land".

"This is definitely not taking place on planet Earth," he said.

Tarantino's first movie since 1997's Jackie Brown has already been hailed as a masterpiece by US critics.

The film, inspired in part by martial arts films of the 1970s, stars Thurman as The Bride, an elite assassin who is shot on her wedding day and left for dead by her boss Bill, played by veteran actor David Carradine.

Five years later she wakes from a coma and seeks revenge on those responsible.

The film also stars Lucy Liu and Japanese actor Sonny Chiba.

She is my Marlene Dietrich
Quentin Tarantino on Uma Thurman

Tarantino is best known for Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, both of which have become cult classics.

Kill Bill, which is only his fourth film to date, mixes various film genres and styles, featuring black and white sequences as well as Japanese anime.

It is also his most violent film to date, according to early reviews, with lengthy samurai sword fights and a high body count.

Tarantino said he took him a year to write just one fight scene.

The scene, in which Thurman tackles 88 adversaries, took eight weeks to shoot.

"I wanted to make the most exciting sequence in cinema" he said.

He said the film was meant as a "black comedy".

"I have done violence before but never in such an outrageous way. Not that I have any problem with violence if it isn't outrageous."


In one bloody set piece, Thurman's character takes on a small army of samurai warriors single-handedly.

He said he was inspired by Japanese cinema and that he wanted the film to be a "great night at the movies".

Movie maverick
quentin tarantino

"It is the standard staple of Japanese cinema to cut someone's arm of and have them have waterhoses for veins," he said, explaining the blood-thirsty nature of the movie.

Explaining his favoured style of movie-making, he said: "I like movies about people who break rules, who are mavericks."

A second instalment of the film will follow next year, after Tarantino and studio Miramax opted to split Kill Bill in two after they found the finished production lasted over three hours.

Delayed production

Miramax was worried it would lose ticket sales on account of the length, but executives were reluctant to cut any scenes from the film.

Tarantino said of his lead actress: "She is my Marlene Dietrich."

The director had delayed production of the film for six months while Thurman was pregnant.

Thurman said she was "pleased, amazed and overwhelmed" that Tarantino would hold up the film for her.

"It is a testament to his friendship, patience and general goodness," she said.

Volume 1 is released in London from 9 October, with the rest of the UK following on 17 October.

The second film is due for release in February 2004.

Quentin Tarantino, director
"Japanese cinema is more outrageous, more violent"

The BBC's David Sillito
"More than a hundred gallons of fake blood were used"

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