The films of Luc Besson

Master of spectacle

Edited by Susan Hayward and Philip Powrie

The films of Luc Besson


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-7029-7
  • Pages: 208
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £17.99
  • Published Date: February 2009
  • BIC Category: The arts / Individual film directors, film-makers, The arts / General, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / Direction & Production, PERFORMING ARTS / Individual Director, Film history, theory & criticism, Film and Media


This fascinating collection looks at the career and films of Luc Besson, one of the most acclaimed figures in international cinema. Contributions have been assembled from all over the world, and their different approaches reflect this geographical diversity. Films covered range from Besson's first feature, La Dernier Combat, to the international blockbusters The Fifth Element and Joan of Arc. The essays range from looking at costume design to musical scores, and the final chapter offers a transcript of a previously unpublished interview with the man himself.

He is the only French director to have crossed over successfully during the 1990s into the blockbuster spectacular we associate with Hollywood cinema and yet this is only the second book in English on this major international director. The films of Luc Besson will make fascinating reading for anyone interested in the career and films of the 'master of spectacle'.


Introduction - Susan Hayward and Phil Powrie
1. Three neo-baroque directors - Raphaël Bassan
2. Du côté de Europa, via Asia: the post-Hollywood Besson - Rosanna Maule
3. Musical narration in the films of Luc Besson - Gérard Dastugue
4. Hearing Besson: the music of Eric Serra in the films of Luc Besson - Mark Brownrigg
5. Of suits and men in the films of Luc Besson - Phil Powrie
6. From Rags to Riches: Le Dernier combat and Le Cinquième élément - Susan Hayward
7. The sinking of the self: Freudian hydraulic patterns in Le Grand bleu - Laurent Jullier
8. Imprisoned freedoms: space and identity in Subway and Nikita - Mark Orme
9. Nikita: consumer culture's killer instinct and the imperial imperative - Hilary Ann Radner
10. Léon and the cloacal labyrinth - Phil Powrie
11. Jeanne d'Arc: high epic style and politicising camp - Susan Hayward
12. An unpublished interview with Luc Besson - Gérard Dastugue
Select bibliography


Susan Hayward is the Established Chair of French at Exeter University where she is the Director of the Department of Film Studies. Phil Powrie is Professor of French Cultural Studies at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne

The films of Luc Besson

Edited by Susan Hayward, Philip Powrie

Paperback £17.99 / $26.95

Hardcover £90.00 / $140.00

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