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Last Updated: Friday, 14 May, 2004, 16:44 GMT 17:44 UK
Faces of the week
Faces of the Week

Our regular look at some of the faces which have made the news this week. Above are Quentin Tarantino (main picture), with Lord Carey, Mary Donaldson, Muttiah Muralitharan and Akhmad Kadryov.

Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino's latest guise, that of president of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival, is a far cry from his first outing there, as an unknown director, in 1992.

If it's the middle of May, it just has to be Cannes, darling. This year's festival, the 57th, features the usual schmoozing, ligging and posing, with everyone from Brad Pitt, to the usual bevy of starlets, strutting their stuff on the resort's fabled promenade, the Croisette.

But, away from the vulgarity of the marketplace, Cannes prides itself on taking movies seriously. Its main film award, the Palme D'Or, chosen by a host of cinematic heavyweights, is hugely prestigious, eagerly anticipated and hotly debated.

This year's jury, which includes Kathleen Turner, Emmanuelle Beart and Tilda Swinton, is presided over by Quentin Tarantino, a self-confessed movie junkie who looks like the cat who just got the cream.

"When I first heard of Cannes," he told a news conference, "I was eight or nine years old."

Quentin Tarantino chairing the Cannes jury
Chair of the Cannes jury - dream come true
"I dreamed about coming to Cannes with my first film, Reservoir Dogs, and I did. My next dream was to win the Palme d'Or and I did with Pulp Fiction.

And my next dream was to be on the jury and here I am president of the jury, all right! So if there is another level of heaven..."

The avowedly postmodernist Tarantino - who takes inspiration from everything from Godard's bleak existentialist fables through martial arts films to Chevrolet cars - was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1963.

Tarantino's parents - his father, the actor and musician Tony Tarantino, is of Italian descent, while his mother is half-Irish and half-Cherokee Indian - named their son after Quint Asper, Burt Reynolds' character in Gunsmoke.

Argy-bary in Cannes

He dropped out of high school and had no formal training in movie production, preferring to feed his addiction by working in a video store. As he says: "When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them 'no, I went to films.'"

But his obsession soon brought results. After writing and starring in My Best Friend's Birthday, he expanded the script into True Romance.

Directed by Tony Scott, the film boasted a stellar cast - Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman, Dennis Hopper, Christopher Walken - a violent, drug-related, plot and 225 uses of the 'f-word'.

Legend has it that Tarantino used his fee for the True Romance script to fund his next project, Reservoir Dogs, which wowed the cognoscenti at the 1992 Sundance Festival and catapulted Tarantino to glory.

With fellow jurors including Tilda Swinton and Kathleen Turner
With fellow jurors including Tilda Swinton and Kathleen Turner
That same year, though still unknown, he was involved in a punch-up at Cannes. Desperate to see a screening of Man Bites Dog, he pushed through the crowd. "All of a sudden this French guy with a tuxedo and a red bow tie pushes me in the chest."

"I am from Los Angeles. We have the LAPD there. These red bow tie guys don't show me anything. So I took a swing at the guy." Cue mayhem.

Today, though, with hits like Natural Born Killers, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown under his belt, Tarantino can rest easy.

His production company includes such talents as Tim Burton, Robert Rodriguez and Master Woo Ping Yuen, the choreographer responsible for breathtaking fight scenes in Kill Bill and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Next up is Inglorious Bastards, a war film described by Tarantino as "my Dirty Dozen" and due for release in 2005.

But, for Quentin Tarantino the movie buff, fame has its drawbacks: "Going into a video store and going through the videos, looking at every title they have, trying to find some old spaghetti western, that's gone."


Controversy: Lord Carey
Lord Carey

The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, has faced criticism for a second time over comments about Islam. Speaking at the University of Leicester, he said he "remained unapologetic" about urging Muslims to condemn suicide bombing. Lord Carey recently provoked anger after a speech in Rome in which he said that Islamic leaders had done too little to condemn violence. Suleman Nagdi, of the Muslim Council, said: "Lord Carey's comments are not helpful."

Mary Donaldson: Regal
Mary Donaldson

A 32 year-old Australian woman, Mary Donaldson, has married the heir to the Danish throne, Crown Prince Frederik, in a fairytale ceremony in Copenhagen. The Tasmanian-born princess, formerly an estate agent, is now in line to become Queen of Denmark. Princess Mary, who has now become a Danish citizen, met Frederik in a Sydney bar during the 2000 Olympics. Maybe the union might lead to Denmark thrashing England at cricket too?

In a spin: Muttiah Muralitharan
Muttiah Muralitharan

What a week it has been for the Sri Lankan cricketer, Muttiah Muralitharan. First, the spin-bowling wizard became the world's leading Test wicket-taker, eclipsing Courtney Walsh's 519 dismissals. Days later, though, his controversial 'doosra' delivery - a ball which spins away from right-hand batsmen instead of coming into them like a normal off-break - was ruled illegal by cricket's ruling body, the ICC. Sounds like he needs a spin doctor.

Akhmad Kadyrov: Assassinated
Akhmad Kadryov

The president of Chechnya, Akhmad Kadyrov, was assassinated while reviewing a parade to mark the end of World War II. The pro-Moscow Kadryov was killed by a landmine planted under his VIP box in a stadium in the country's capital, Grozny. He was installed as president last October after winning a hotly-disputed election in the war-torn former Soviet republic. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, hailed Kadryov as a hero, and vowed to avenge the attack.

Compiled by BBC News Profiles Unit's Andrew Walker


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