Of suits and men in the films of Luc Besson
in The films of Luc Besson
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This chapter brings together inbetweenness, violence, gender and costume, starting from an examination of the development of certain key costumes worn by male characters in Luc Besson's feature films. It explores three points. First, Besson's sartorial system functions to establish simple Oedipal structures. Based on the suit where men are concerned, it is relatively stable, and ultimately conservative in its establishment of gender roles. Second, the diving suit is potentially a site of transformation, but it too is reclaimed for normative purposes. Last, the costume's potential for radical transformation is shifted to the cat-suited androgyne Ruby Rhod of Le Cinquieme element. Male attire in Besson functions as a discourse that critiques patriarchal power, where the suit functions above all, as it does more generally in Western culture, to signify masculine repression, the renunciation of narcissistic display at the service of violent patriarchal law.

The films of Luc Besson

Master of spectacle

Editors: Susan Hayward and Phil Powrie


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