Luc Besson

Author: Susan Hayward

Luc Besson's work, with the exception of his first feature film (Le Dernier Combat) which was liked by almost all those engaged in film criticism, has been acclaimed by the popular film journals (such as Première) and excoriated by the more serious ones (such as Cahiers du Cinéma and Positif). Stylisation and excess are hallmarks of Besson's work. Le Dernier Combat, Besson's first feature, came out in 1983 and Léon in 1994. According to Anne Parillaud and Besson, the message of Nikita and Léon is not one of violence but the idea that people who are full of despair and missing love are not alone. All Besson's films have violence at the core of the narrative. This book presents a broad overview of Besson's work to date and an analysis of his films through a number of theoretical avenues in an attempt to show the many levels on which one can read the narratives. It examines questions of violence, particularly in relation to the so-called youth in crisis, and discusses these issues within the context of surveillance and technology. The book looks at Besson's films as the mise-en-scène of the double cult of technology and commodified capitalism within the context of technology and the body. Display and excess are fundamental aspects of Besson's characters' performance. It investigates the issues of transgressive 'child' and absent parent in Besson's films and is going to do so through the triple-optic of genre and gender construction, regression and pathology, resistance and power relations.

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