Quentin Tarantino Says Cannes Added Violent Content Warnings Because of Him — and Removed Them for Lars von Trier

Quentin Tarantino made a trip to Cannes this week to promote a special screening of the grindhouse classic “Rolling Thunder” and present the Grand Prix at the festival’s award ceremony. He took the opportunity to reflect on his long history with the Cannes Film Festival, which helped elevate him into the stratosphere when he won the Palme d’Or for “Pulp Fiction” in 1994.

Speaking to Deadline, Tarantino recalled the festival’s concerns about the violence in “Reservoir Dogs,” which screened out of competition at Cannes in 1992. He claims that the festival added an unprecedented content warning to both “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction” — then stopped using them when European filmmakers like Lars von Trier started matching Tarantino’s shock value.

“They invented something for our screening that they’d never done before, they put an orange sticker in the ticket that said: This movie may be too violent for you to watch,” he said. “And they’d never done that before and they ended up putting the same sticker on ‘Pulp Fiction’ when it played here in 1994. And then at some point with Lars von Trier they stopped putting the sticker on.”

It remains to be seen whether Tarantino’s upcoming final film, “The Movie Critic,” will be violent enough to require a warning. The director recently explained that the film will be a fictionalized story about a real film critic he used to read in a pornographic magazine when he worked at an adult movie theater.

“All the other stuff was too skanky to read but then there was this porno rag that had a really interesting movie page,” Tarantino said. “He wrote about mainstream movies and he was the second-string critic. I think he was a very good critic. He was as cynical as hell. His reviews were a cross between early Howard Stern and what Travis Bickle might be if he were a film critic. Think about Travis’ diary entries.” 

He continued: “But the porno rag critic was very, very funny. He was very rude, you know. He cursed. He used racial slurs. But his shit was really funny. He was as rude as hell. He wrote like he was 55 but he was only in his early to mid-30s. He died in his late 30s. It wasn’t clear for a while but now I’ve done some more research and I think it was it was complications due to alcoholism.”

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