From rags to riches
Le Dernier combat and Le Cinquième élément
in The films of Luc Besson
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Le Dernier combat is 'an imaginary excursion', says Luc Besson. He came to the idea of making this film when he was wandering around in the boulevard Barbes in Paris, and discovered an old film theatre all gutted out, but with cinema seats still hanging off the wall. In Le Cinquieme element, Besson brings together Jean-Paul Gaultier's intellectually transgressive costume design, Moebius-inspired surrealist set designs, and Cinemascope, and digital technology for the computer-generated images of twenty-third-century New York. The challenges around sexuality and gender performativity that Le Cinquieme element puts on display mark the film as contestatory of dominant ideology to a degree, and demarcate it strongly from the earlier Bessonian sci-fi prototype Le Dernier combat. Le Dernier combat is radical through its means of production and its ecological and anti-capitalist positioning.

The films of Luc Besson

Master of spectacle

Editors: Susan Hayward and Phil Powrie

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