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Creator / Luc Besson

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"I think we have the wrong notion of commercial and intellectual or artistic film. Because all films are commercial."

Luc Paul Maurice Besson (born March 18, 1959 in Paris) is a French film director, writer and producer.

Besson's parents were scuba diving instructors, and his initial ambition was to become a marine biologist. However, he had a diving accident at age 17 which left him unable to dive, and out of the resulting boredom, he began to write stories, entered the film industry, and worked his way up the ladder. Since then, he has worked on more than 50 films via EuropaCorp (the studio he founded), and directed over a dozen of them.

He is one of the three directors (along with Leos Carax and Jean-Jacques Beineix) credited with creating the French "cinéma du look", a French film movement of the 1980s whose films favoured style over substance — at least that's what the critics say. They often featured young people, often in love with each other, lost in urban Paris.

Besson is appreciated as much as he's criticized in Europe as the most "Hollywoodian" of French filmmakers. Action movies written by him and produced by his company have been routinely panned by some as "slick and commercial".

He's been married four times, always with someone tied to his films: actress Anne Parillaud (from 1986 to 1991), actress Maïwenn (from 1992 to 1997), actress Milla Jovovich (from 1997 to 1999) and producer Virginie Silla (since 2004).

His next film project is titled Dogman. It will start production in spring 2022 and stars Caleb Landry Jones.

Films directed by Luc Besson:

Tropes & trivia associated with Besson and his films:

  • Action Girl: Ass-kicking women are common in his films.
  • Action Hero: Pretty much every Besson protagonist will be a deadly and capable badass.
  • Associated Composer: Éric Serra composed the soundtrack of the majority of the films directed by Besson, and then some that he produced.
  • Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: He's pretty fond of using this trope in his movies.
  • Creator Killer: Besson poured a ton of love into Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and its catastrophic failure hit him hard, resulting in an immediately infamous interview where he cast himself as the only director who cares about telling stories while everyone else are studio hacks. He lost control of EuropaCorp afterwards due to the studio's debts resulting from the film bombing. His career sunk even further with the failure of Anna and allegations of sexual harassment. The latter accusations were lifted in court in December 2021 however, and he started filming his next small scale project, Dogman, in 2022.
  • Dirty Cop: Corrupt cops factor into many of Besson's films.
  • Invincible Hero: Besson's action heroes are typically supreme badasses set against impossible odds.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Many women in his films are beautiful, and dressed in skimpy outfits.
  • Police Are Useless: When police forces are not corrupt in his films, they are bumbling and/or incompetent.
  • Production Posse:
    • Besson has cast Jean Reno in several of his films, including his first four. Reno has also starred in a few EuropaCorp films written and produced by Besson but not directed by him.
    • He cast his former wife Maïwenn Le Besco in The Professional and The Fifth Element.
    • He also cast his second wife Milla Jovovich as the female lead in two films.
    • Not to mention composer Éric Serra, who worked on all of his directed films.
    • Le Parkour creators David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli are typically behind the stunts and fight choreography of EuropaCorp films, if not in front of the camera. Hence the Gratuitous Ninja mooks in these films in order to hide their faces.
    • Directors Gérard Krawczyk and Louis Leterrier have directed a number of the action films he's produced and written at EuropaCorp.
  • Write What You Know: Not surprisingly for a former diver, Besson's first wide-release film was The Big Blue, which is about, well, divers.