• 05 Jun 2020 - 11:49
  • Welcome, Guest
Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Visit the Tee Shirt Store - NEW designs!! HERE

Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: The Films Of Luc Besson  (Read 4009 times)

Paul

  • Cane Arrabbiato
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6455
  • "Vamos A Matar!"
    • The Overlook Movie Store
The Films Of Luc Besson
« on: 24 Aug 2007 - 10:20 »

Anyone else a fan of the iconic French director. In the simplest terms, it would be easy to categorise Besson as 'the French James Cameron' – many of his films are relatively mainstream, big budget films that rely heavily on either special effects or pyrotechnics, but to make such a sweeping statement would be rather churlish.

Like Cameron, Besson has been responsible for writing many of his own scripts but unlike Cameron, his films tend to have better-fleshed out characters. Now, I'm not about to dismiss Cameron's films, as he has created some of the best big-budget American films of the past couple of decades. Even Cameron's lesser-successful films are still a joy to watch. That said, I'm not about to profess my love of Besson at the expense of Cameron, as they do share very similar traits.

Of all Besson's films, the one I come back to again and again is LEON (US title: THE PROFESSIONAL). In it's longer "intergral version" form, it's a masterpiece: brilliantly realised, with meticulously-constructed set-pieces juxtaposed against a pair of beautiful performances. This film is a masterclass in filmmaking and one that never loses impact.

I also have a soft-spot for NIKITA (US title: LA FEMME NIKITA) which was the first subtitled film I saw, back when I was just 15 years old. Again, the action and drama are balanced well and there's a great, driving score from frequent Besson collaborator, Eric Serra. The less said about John Badham's needless remake THE ASSASSIN (US Title: POINT OF NO RETURN) the better...

Of his other films, I so like the punkish SUBWAY, his recent ANGEL-A and the wonderfully therapeutic ATLANTIS but am not a fan of JOAN OF ARC (US title: THE MESSENGER) or THE BIG BLUE (Original title: LA GRAND BLEU) – the latter I found infuriating because I couldn't stand the central character. That said, THE BIG BLUE does benefit from some amazing photography and an excellent Serra score.

Of all his films, THE FIFTH ELEMENT is one that leaves me scratching my head. It has some of the most jaw-dropping visuals and some likeable performances from Bruce Willis and Ian Holm—not sure why Gary Oldman felt the need to adopt a godawful FORREST GUMPesque drawl, mind—but there appears to be a few too many plot holes, which to this day I am positive is the result of the loss of a lot of footage. Who know, maybe a Special Edition will surface one day...
Logged
"Allow me to explain. Your mother is a whore, your father is a damn thief, and your grandfather is a notorious fag... and as for your sister..." - Yodlaf Peterson

broonage

  • Cane Arrabbiato
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1840
  • j'aime tous les dvds.
Re: The Films Of Luc Besson
« Reply #1 on: 24 Aug 2007 - 11:54 »

Leon, Nikita, Big Blue, and Fifth Element are all excellent films.
Big Blue, if a tad long, is special.
Logged
Dig that groove baby.

pogotheklown

  • Guest
Re: The Films Of Luc Besson
« Reply #2 on: 24 Aug 2007 - 17:47 »

I really enjoy THE FIFTH ELEMENT, it's one of my personal faves.  I also enjoy THE MESSENGER:  THE STORY OF JOAN OF ARC.  I haven't seen LEON since it first came out and I really can't remember anything about it, so I must give this one a watch again soon.  As for his other stuff I haven't seen anything else.
Logged

Peter Neal

  • Guest
Re: The Films Of Luc Besson
« Reply #3 on: 28 Aug 2007 - 07:46 »

"Leon" is one of my alltime faves and i was lucky enough to catch the "Director's Cut" on its theatrical run in Germany. The "Kinowelt" DVD of this comes highly recommended!

I still have to decide on a proper DVD version of "Nikita" for my needs, though. :o

"The 5th. Element" is a film that annoyed me big time when I saw it on the big screen, but watching a few glimpses at one of its TV showings made me wonder if I should give it a second viewing...which hasn't happened so far. :o

Kathryn Bigelow would probably have made a far better "Jean D'Arc" movie and my memories of "The Big Blue" are clouded apart from the strong impression that Jean Reno already made on me back then. ;)

Still have to check out his newest film.
Logged

Paul

  • Cane Arrabbiato
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6455
  • "Vamos A Matar!"
    • The Overlook Movie Store
Re: The Films Of Luc Besson
« Reply #4 on: 28 Aug 2007 - 08:42 »


Still have to check out his newest film.

ANGEL-A is a nice little flick. A little whimsical but still worthy of your time.
Logged
"Allow me to explain. Your mother is a whore, your father is a damn thief, and your grandfather is a notorious fag... and as for your sister..." - Yodlaf Peterson

tigerheart76

  • Guest
Re: The Films Of Luc Besson
« Reply #5 on: 05 Sep 2007 - 13:34 »


Still have to check out his newest film.

ANGEL-A is a nice little flick. A little whimsical but still worthy of your time.

Yeah, I was curious about that as well (the lead guy, Jamel Debbouze was in AMELIE as the greengrocer's assistant if memory serves correct). Very fond of LEON - I really should get hold of it on DVD - suspect it will still put as big a lump in my throat as it did the first time I saw it - more than any Hollywood romance ever could!

5TH ELEMENT? Not surprised it divides opinions; I like it, but have to be in the right mood for it because it makes so little sense!
Logged

Vaughan

  • Guest
Re: The Films Of Luc Besson
« Reply #6 on: 04 Oct 2007 - 09:40 »

Quote
ANGEL-A is a nice little flick. A little whimsical but still worthy of your time.


Whoa!  This movie blew me away - just totally turned my head around.  I think it's an absolute masterpiece.  If it can make an old git like me appreciate a romantic comedy it has to be doing something special.

Are we allowed to post long reviews in these threads? 

If you want pictures you can follow this link:

http://www.xtheunknown.com/Reviews/ReviewImages2/Angela/angelaN.htm

However, why leave this very site?  Here goes: 

Quote
It's easy to forget what cinema is all about.  We get so wrapped up in plots, actors, set pieces, explosions, graphic violence, language.  Our vocabulary in describing the films we like is limited to "great", "cool", "amazing" and other similarly fluffy verbiage.  Sometimes we'll break out a "the cinematography on this film is really good", just to keep things interesting.  It's as though we're describing static things, or fleeting glimpses of something, or that all things cinematic can be described in simple cut and paste sentences.

Cinema is infact all of the things mentioned.  But above all else it's an art form.  If we're lucky enough to find a filmmaker, and a film, that understands all that cinema can be, all that cinema ought to be, then we can be transported to a corner of our souls, places we didn't even know were there, spirited away into every grain and pixel.

Angel-a is an astonishing piece of cinema.  It's too easy to roll out the clichés "every frame is a painting", "the visuals are eye-popping!"  But forget it, just forget it, because if we're reduced to such talk then we've really not been able to plumb the depths of where this movie goes.  It needs a whole other language, demands far more respect than casual asides that sound like they mean something, but really are just a means to gloss over the enormous power of a work such as this.

Angel-a is everything.  It's everything you can say about it, it's everything up there on the screen, it's the very idea of its conception, it's the execution, it's the way it makes you feel.  It's both foreign and familiar.  Even the hard hearted among us will be swept up into its cloister, and wrung out until we tear up.

Luc Besson is a genius.  The beauty within the man spreads out across the screen like the lifeblood of his soul.  He melts things, sculpts them, invents new words, feelings, and visions.  And he lets us into this new world in the most simplest of ways.

Reducing the film to its plot just robs it of its essence.  There is a plot, and there's a centre to the film revolving around quality of life, the meaning of life, and that it's never too late to correct the things about ourselves that we dislike or no longer have any need for.  Yes, it's all there.  But it's not sufficient to run through each turn of the story, each scene and step as though somehow knowing what happens substitutes for actually experiencing it yourself.  Is reading about a roller coaster ride really the same as going on a real one?

At an emotional level we have humour, pathos, drama, and a little bit of action too.  There is a whimsical element to the film, it's a fable.  This isn't a gritty urban drama where the filmmaker wallows in the gutter looking for something to shake the viewers out of their grotty negativity.  Instead, this is a film that soars about it all, fleetingly touching the ground, hinting at what we can all be, what we can all have, if only our eyes were open.  Even every day life can be a thing of beauty, and Luc Besson shows us the way.

With a film such as this genres, sub-genres, have no meaning.  First and foremost, this is cinema.  This is why they built those big movie houses - so people could go and be transported to the heights of their being by flashes of light. 

It doesn't avoid asking difficult questions:  What have we become?  What have we done?  Are we good people?  It doesn't gloss over solutions either.  There isn't a single character in this film that doesn't go through one kind of transformation or another.  Purity made flesh, conmen humbled by what they desire, losers who have gotten used to losing.  They all meet within the movie, and change.

The point is, the solution to all our problems is within ourselves.  Sometimes we must lose a part of ourselves, let people down, confess our wrongs, admit we're on the wrong track.  Sometimes we must give up on ourselves completely before the door to the future is opened.  The safety net we all so desire is within ourselves, we just can't find it amongst all this junk.


Logged

Vaughan

  • Guest
Re: The Films Of Luc Besson
« Reply #7 on: 04 Oct 2007 - 09:41 »

Quote
Luc Besson starts with a presence, a thing, and explores its every aspect.  Paris.  Within this beautiful city, amongst the buildings, clubs, and on the streets, live people.  Some of these people are privileged, others poor.  How many of them realize the elegance is all around them?  And who built this city?  The people within it, and they build it every day in their own image. 

To explore this beauty Besson chose to shoot in black and white.  These days this is generally considered a brave move, but in all honesty, have we forgotten how effective this medium can be?  Every time a wonderful film is made in black white, we seem to fall over ourselves to proclaim how great monochrome can be (Manhattan, for instance).  Then we promptly forget again.  Well let Angel-a act as a reminder.  Beauty can be so simple, while at the same time so detailed - it's all here.

So it's not what this movie tries to be, it's what it is.  Reading plot synopsises is sure to throw people in the wrong direction.  Ignore the talk, just go in with your eyes wide open.  It's not perfect, but even the best diamonds have tiny microscopic flaws.  A film such as this can light up your life, leave fingerprints on your heart.  You punish only yourself when you fail to let it in.

Which leads me to the target audience.  You see, this film is for everyone.  The hard drinking punch drunk fighter who wants a curry and chips, to the youth waiting for experiences to fill their lives.  If you read too much about the details it's going to set your mind racing.  Have you noticed how we love to pigeonhole things - "Oh, it's a romantic comedy", "Oh, it's a French film".  Stop.  Stop right there, don't do it.  Resist the natural rhythms of your thought process and just watch.  Just let it wash over you. 

There are too many easy excuses to avoid a film such as this.  Especially for men.  We can always find a reason to label such a film so we don't have to explore a softer part of ourselves.  It's because we're so concerned with how others see us, think of us.   But a film such as this is a personal thing.  Of course it can be shared, but firstly it's about you, it's about me. 

I love film.  I love everything that it does.  I usually place things in a nice neat order.  But Angel-a doesn't like categories.  It doesn't like to fit nicely into the slots we make for it on the shelves of our DVD collections.  It leaks all over the place.  If every movie made from now on could include 1% of the magic on display here, film would be in better shape.  Hell, we'd ALL be in better shape.

The language of film is complex.  Academics have done their job in dismantling it, cataloguing it, building jargon around it as though, once discovered, the secrets are best laced in code.  No matter, because you don't need any of that.  You just need eighty-eight minutes of time - a stretch of silence to take in the soundscape, the gestures, the movement, silence, and static frames.  You just need to be alone with Angel-a.

You see, it's easy to become so accustomed to something it seems like it's the way things should be.  We're all so comfortable with what we like, how we like things, with myriad bits of reasoning to convince ourselves and others that our own version of events are indeed the right ones.  The trouble is, we've forgotten the journey that led us to such thinking, the different twists and turns we could have taken, the alternatives, the choices.  Along the way, there were no absolutes - as there is truly none now.

So don't worry if Angel-a doesn't seem like your type of thing.  Don't worry if you don't watch foreign cinema.  Don't worry if black and white film isn't for you.  Don't worry that you have the latest blockbuster sitting on the shelf waiting to be watched.  There is salvation within this little film.  It's going to remind you of things you'd long forgotten, will make you feel things you didn't know you could.  You'll be so swept up by the ripples and how it reflects light, you won't care what you're watching.  Only be glad that you are.

Angel-a is about giving.  It's a gift from Luc Besson to cinema, to the world.  Denying yourself this film is to rob yourself of a moment of passion.

Yeah - I was blown away.  Don't undersell it, mate.  ;)
Logged

Paul

  • Cane Arrabbiato
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6455
  • "Vamos A Matar!"
    • The Overlook Movie Store
Re: The Films Of Luc Besson
« Reply #8 on: 04 Oct 2007 - 09:45 »

Are we allowed to post long reviews in these threads? 


Of course you, can! Thanks for the adding the review, mate. Glad you liked the film. I thought it was really under appreciated by the british press.
Logged
"Allow me to explain. Your mother is a whore, your father is a damn thief, and your grandfather is a notorious fag... and as for your sister..." - Yodlaf Peterson

death_proof_reg

  • Guest
Re: The Films Of Luc Besson
« Reply #9 on: 04 Oct 2007 - 11:19 »

I have this sitting in my collection, really need to get around to watching it. My girlfreind puts me onto these kind of films, like AMELIE, I'm always surprised by how much I like them...
Logged

Paul

  • Cane Arrabbiato
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6455
  • "Vamos A Matar!"
    • The Overlook Movie Store
Re: The Films Of Luc Besson
« Reply #10 on: 04 Oct 2007 - 11:23 »

Definitely give it a watch, mate. It's a cracking little feel-good film. If you like it, make sure you seek out Wim Wenders' similarly-themed WINGS OF DESIRE.
Logged
"Allow me to explain. Your mother is a whore, your father is a damn thief, and your grandfather is a notorious fag... and as for your sister..." - Yodlaf Peterson
Pages: [1]   Go Up
 

Page created in 0.072 seconds with 34 queries.