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Tarantino Grabs Cannes Festival Spotlight

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Kill Bill director Quentin Tarantino cleansed his soul before Wednesday night’s opening of the Cannes Film Festival by admitting at a press conference that he once slugged a security guard at cinema’s annual rite of spring.

Tarantino, 41, who serves as president of this year’s film jury (which also includes Kathleen Turner), recalled that in 1992 he was desperate to get in to a screening of the Belgian film Man Bites Dog, by actor-writer Benoit Poelvoorde (who is also sitting on this year’s jury).

“I am trying to cleverly push my way in and all of a sudden this French guy with a tuxedo and a red bow tie pushes me in the chest,” said Tarantino, according to Reuters. “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.”

Havoc ensued, and five security guards pounced on Tarantino – whose girlfriend joined the fight.

“I think it is safe to say that Man Bites Dog breeds violence,” Tarantino said as the news conference erupted in laughter.

Added Poelvoorde, 39: “We have found the guard. He is still working here.”

Although the 11-day festival opened Wednesday in France with Spanish director Pedro Almodovar’s Bad Education – which received a rare rousing welcome, given the usually jaded Cannes audience – Tarantino emerged as the star of the opening ceremony, with a montage of his movies shown before the main feature, says the Hollywood Reporter.

“Cinema, mon amour,” Tarantino, whose Kill Bill – Vol. 2 will be shown out of competition, shouted into the microphone. “I’d like to say to the audience and the people of France, I love cinema, and it’s an honor to be jury president of this magnifique festival. Vive le cinema!”

Thursday night the star attraction is Brad Pitt, whose ancient Greek epic Troy, directed by Wolfgang Petersen, will be screened. Critical reaction stateside (the movie opens nationwide Friday) has been decidedly mixed.