BESSON, Luc was born on March 18, 1959 in Paris.
BESSON, Luc was born on March 18, 1959 in Paris.
Besson planned on becoming a marine biologist. He spent much of his youth traveling with his parents to tourist resorts in Italy, Yugoslavia and Greece.
Out of boredom, Besson started writing stories, including the background to what he later developed as The Fifth Element (1997), one of his most popular movies. The film is inspired by the French comic books which Besson read as a teenager. He reportedly worked on the first drafts of Le Grand Bleu while still in his teens. Besson directed and co-wrote the screenplay of this science fiction thriller with the screenwriter, Robert Mark Kamen.
At 18, Besson returned to his birthplace of Paris. There he took odd jobs in film to get a feel for the industry. He worked as an assistant to directors including Claude Faraldo and Patrick Grandperret. Besson directed three short films, a commissioned documentary, and several commercials.
After this, he moved to the United States for three years, but returned to Paris, where he formed his own production company. He first named it Les Films du Loup, but changed it to Les Films du Dauphin. In the early 1980s, Besson met Éric Serra and asked him to compose the score for his first short film, L'Avant dernier. He later used Serra as a composer for others of his films.
Since the late 20th century, Besson has written and produced numerous action movies, including the Taxi (1998-2007) and The Transporter (2002-2008) series, and the Jet Li films Kiss of the Dragon and Unleashed/Danny the Dog. His English-language films Taken and Taken 2, both starring Liam Neeson, have been major successes, with Taken 2 becoming the largest-grossing export French film. Besson produced the promotional movie for the Paris bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Besson won Best Director and Best French Director for his film The Fifth Element (1997). he was nominated for Best Director and Best Picture César Awards for his films Léon: The Professional(1994) and The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999).
Cinéma du look
Critics cite Besson as a pivotal figure in the Cinéma du look movement, a specific, highly visual style produced from the 1980s into the early 1990s. Subway (1985), The Big Blue (1988) andNikita (1990) are all considered to be of this stylistic school. The term was coined by critic Raphaël Bassan in a 1989 essay in La Revue du Cinema n° 449. A partisan of the experimental cinema and friend of the New Wave ("nouvelle vague") directors, Bassan classified Besson with two other directors who shared "le look." These directors were later described as favoring style over substance, and spectacle over narrative.
Most of the filmmakers in the category, including Besson, squirmed uncomfortably at being so labeled, particularly in light of the achievements of their forebears: France's New Wave. "Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut were rebelling against existing cultural values and used cinema as a means of expression simply because it was the most avant-garde medium at the time," said Besson in a 1985 interview in The New York Times. "Today, the revolution is occurring entirely within the industry and is led by people who want to change the look of movies by making them better, more convincing and pleasurable to watch.
"Because it's becoming increasingly difficult to break into this field, we have developed a psychological armor and are ready to do anything in order to work", he added in this same interview. "I think our ardor alone is going to shake the pillars of the moviemaking establishment."
Besson directed a biopic of Aung San Suu Kyi called The Lady (original title Dans la Lumiere), which was released in the fall of 2011. He also worked on Lockout, which was released in April 2012.
Many of Besson's films have achieved popular, if not critical, success. One such release was Le Grand Bleu.
"When the film had its premiere on opening night at the 1988 Cannes Film Festival, it was mercilessly drubbed, but no matter; it was a smash," observed the International Herald Tribune in a 2007 profile of Besson. "Embraced by young people who kept returning to see it again, the movie sold 10 million tickets and quickly became what the French call a 'film générationnel,' a defining moment in the culture."
Besson created the Arthur series, which comprises Arthur and the Minimoys, Arthur and the Forbidden City, Arthur and the Vengeance of Maltazard and Arthur and the War of the Two Worlds. He directed Arthur and the Invisibles, an adaptation of the first two books of the collection. A film with live action and animation, it was released in the UK and the US and starred Freddie Highmore, Madonna, Snoop Dogg, Mia Farrow, Robert De Niro and David Bowie.
In 2000, Besson superseded his production company by co-founding EuropaCorp with Pierre-Ange Le Pogam, with whom he had frequently worked since 1985. Le Pogam had then been Distribution Director with GaumontGaumont. EuropaCorp has had strong growth based on several English-language films, with international distribution. It has production facilities in Paris, Normandy, and Hollywood, and is establishing distribution partnerships in Japan and China.
Quotations: "It's always the small people who change things. It's never the politicians or the big guys. I mean, who pulled down the Berlin wall? It was all the people in the streets. The specialists didn't have a clue the day before"