The films of Luc Besson

Master of spectacle

Editors: Susan Hayward and Phil Powrie

Excess and stylisation are the two major hallmarks of Luc Besson's films. Despite Besson's stature as a popular filmmaker during the late 1980s and 1990s, there was during this period little major academic work on his films. This book supplements the pioneering work by covering a broad range of issues in Besson's films, which have not yet been substantially covered by academic analysis; and, moreover, wherever possible, to use analytical tools developed in Film Studies during the same period as Besson's work. Because of the primacy of the visual for theorists of spectatorship, music emerged as a concern from the work devoted to the soundtrack. Besson's films are good examples of the way in which music is a key component of the film. His films, often considered as flashy videoclips, have musical scores which guide audience reception: actions on screen are paralleled by a musical response on the soundtrack. The book maps the evolution of Eric Serra's compositional style over the span of his collaboration with Luc Besson. It 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. The challenges around sexuality and gender performativity that Le Cinquieme element puts on display mark the film as contestatory of dominant ideology, are discussed. The book also presents three approaches to explain the infatuation of millions of cinemagoers and videotape buyers as a result of Le Grand bleu's success.

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