Quentin Tarantino: 'I make movies for planet Earth'
On the eighth day of the Cannes Film Festival, World War II epic Inglourious Basterds is all anyone is talking about.
A violent saga about Jewish freedom fighters stalking Nazi soldiers in occupied France, Quentin Tarantino's film receives its gala premiere later at the Palais des Festivals.
The critics have already seen it, though, with reactions ranging from chilly to ecstatic.
At a press conference this morning, however, its 46-year-old creator said he was happy to take his chances.
The film marks Pitt's first collaboration with Tarantino (right)
"All the world's film press from the planet Earth - they're all here," he said with typical ebullience.
"There's something about them all being here and seeing you drop the movie, bam - everybody weighs in at the exact same time.
"It's like the cat is out of the bag for the entire planet Earth, and I'm down with that," the Pulp Fiction director continued.
"I am not an American filmmaker. I make movies for planet Earth and Cannes is the place that represents that."
Hollywood actor Brad Pitt, who plays the leader of the eponymous killing squad, said it had been "a real pleasure" to work for "an auteur" like Tarantino.
"More than anything as I get older, it's really about the company I keep," he said when asked what had drawn him to the project.
Making a film, he added, "takes you away from your family for months.
"So it had better be with people you respect, and it better be something that means something to you."
"Artistically me and Brad have been sniffing around each other for a while," smiled Tarantino.
"One of the questions I get asked a lot is 'what actor would you like to work with?' And Brad has always been one of the ones I've said."
"Quentin came to visit at the end of the summer with the script," elaborated his leading man. "We talked about it until the wee hours of the night.
"I got up the next morning and saw five empty bottles of wine lying on the floor and something that resembled a smoking apparatus.
"Apparently I agreed to do the movie because six weeks later I was in uniform. Go figure."
Critics have been generally supportive of the film, with trade paper Variety describing it as "a violent fairy tale in which the history of World War II is wildly reimagined".
"Surprising, nutty, windy, audacious and a bit caught up in its own cleverness, the picture is a completely distinctive piece of American pop art with a strong Euro flavour."
Screen International's critic had reservations, however, summarising the film as "a series of long-running vignettes strung together by a slender story thread".
"With some of the scenes running up to half an hour each, the thread of the drama is left disjointed and the focus ever-changing," writes reviewer Mike Goodridge.
Inglourious Basterds - whose curious spelling Tarantino has refused to explain - will be released in the UK on 21 August.