Page last updated at 10:56 GMT, Thursday, 23 April 2009 11:56 UK

Tarantino up for top Cannes prize

Quentin Tarantino
Tarantino is the only American director shortlisted this year

Quentin Tarantino's World War II saga Inglourious Basterds is one of several major titles that will compete for the Cannes Film Festival's top prize.

Others include Ken Loach's Looking for Eric, starring French footballer Eric Cantona, and the latest films from Ang Lee, Pedro Almodovar and Jane Campion.

Twenty films will compete for the coveted Palme d'Or at this year's event, which runs from 13 to 24 May.

Tarantino won the Palme d'Or in 1994 with his second film Pulp Fiction.

The 46-year-old is the only American director in contention for the prize, won last year by French school drama The Class.

His latest work, in which Brad Pitt appears, tells of a group of Jewish-American soldiers sent to Germany to kill Nazis.

Comedy

Loach's inclusion in this year's line-up marks the ninth time the veteran British director has been shortlisted for the Golden Palm.

The 73-year-old won the prize in 2006 with his historical Irish drama The Wind That Shook the Barley.

Steve Evets and Eric Cantona in Looking for Eric
Former footballer Eric Cantona plays himself in Loach's Looking for Eric

Looking for Eric tells of an obsessive football fan who receives spiritual advice from the former Manchester United star, who plays himself.

Loach is joined by another British filmmaker, Andrea Arnold, whose second feature Fish Tank will also compete for Cannes' top honour.

Lee, previously shortlisted in 1997 for The Ice Storm, will return in May with Taking Woodstock, a comedy about the iconic 1969 rock festival.

Spanish director Almodovar, meanwhile, will present Broken Embraces, a thriller starring recent Oscar-winner Penelope Cruz.

New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion has been shortlisted for her latest work Bright Star, about the 19th Century Romantic poet John Keats.

Fantasy

British actor Ben Whishaw plays the leading role, with Australian actress Abbie Cornish as Fanny Brawne, the object of Keats' affections.

Other leading filmmakers up for the Palme d'Or include Denmark's Lars von Trier, Hong Kong's Johnnie To, Austria's Michael Haneke and Argentinian-born Gaspar Noe.

French actress Isabelle Huppert heads the jury for the 62nd festival, which will launch with a screening of Pixar animation Up.

Terry Gilliam's fantasy The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - the film the late Heath Ledger was working on at the time of his death - will also screen out of competition.

The festival will close with Coco Chanel and Igor Stavinsky, a film about the relationship between the French designer and the Russian composer.

Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen - best known for his villainous turn in the James Bond film Casino Royale - takes the latter role.



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