Quentin Tarantino brought his homage to 1970s low-budget flick to the Cannes Film Festival, hoping the publicity will boost its box office prospects after a poor run in the United States.

'Death Proof,' starring Kurt Russel and Rosario Dawson, originally ran as part of 'Grindhouse,' a double-feature homage to 1970s exploitation movies directed by Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.

But the high-profile $100 million film was cut into two for European cinema-goers after 'Grindhouse' took only $12 million at its Easter holiday weekend US opening.

Tarantino, 44, is a favourite at Cannes – 'Pulp Fiction' won the Palme d'Or in 1994 and the director was jury president in 2004.

'Death Proof,' which gets its European premiere in the South of France tonight, features Russell as a deranged stuntman who goes out on the road in the car he has built as a killing machine to murder groups of young women.

The movie, which features an ensemble cast of sassy female characters, has been selected for this year's festival competition.

At his press conference today the director said he was inspired by "slasher films" but "wanted to do something a little bit different".

He said of the female characters: "Everyone asks 'is this a revenge film, empowering women?' But exploitation movies from all over the world have dealt with female heroes in a way that Hollywood never did."

Tarantino said of being at the world-famous film festival: "To me it's always been Mount Olympus. To be a favourite son of Cannes is an honour, it's where the gods go, where the greatest films ever get their first screenings", adding that winning the Palme d'Or was the "proudest moment of my career".

Russell said he was "disappointed" that the audience "won't get the 'Grindhouse' experience", adding: "That's what it's about for me. There won't be anything there like this for the next five years.”

Parts of the movie, such as a lapdance, were not shown in the original double-bill but have been put back into 'Death Proof.'

The movie will be released in Irish cinemas on 1 June.

Check out our Cannes Film Festival photo gallery here