Filmmaker Besson leaves violence behind

19th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

HONG KONG, April 19, 2007 (AFP) - He may have redefined the action movie genre, but French filmmaker Luc Besson says he wants to move away from the violence of his previous movies by showing the beauty of human nature.

HONG KONG, April 19, 2007 (AFP) - He may have redefined the action movie genre, but French filmmaker Luc Besson says he wants to move away from the violence of his previous movies by showing the beauty of human nature.

The 48-year-old director-producer's movie career spans 30 years and has taken in blood-thirsty offerings such as "Leon" and "La Femme Nikita". But his latest film is a drastic departure from earlier intensity.

"Arthur and the Minimoys," a part-animated adventure movie featuring the voices of superstars Madonna, Robert De Niro and David Bowie, was recently released in Hong Kong and is Besson's first to be targeted at children.

"I think it's logical, when you start making films in your 20s you want to prove yourself and you want to push and you want to kick; you need to exist," he said.

"And then you get older, and your vision of life is a little different: it's just a little more calmer," he told AFP while promoting "Arthur" at the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

"Arthur," which took seven years to make, tells the story of a 10-year-old boy's search for hidden treasure in the land of the Minimoys, a tiny tribe living in harmony with nature, in a bid to save the house of his grandfather.

Besson, who has been considered the "French Steven Spielberg" by some, made a directorial debut at age 24 with 1983 "The Last Battle," a black-and-white apocalyptic drama with virtually no dialogue and only two minutes of music.

His subsequent films were box-office hits at home, more popular for their exhilarating visuals than for their thin storylines.

Besson says now that not only has his frame of mind changed since the early days, so has his motivation for making films.

"I remember when 'Nikita' and 'Leon' (were made), French society was very bourgeois and it was the right time to kick ass, to say, 'hold on one minute, you think French society is so great and wonderful and then you want to show how they abuse people and kill each other'," he said.

"Society today is very cynical," he explained. "Just watch the news every night, and it's just about cynicism: (people) kill each other for oil, for money, they cheat, there's corruption in every government that went to war.

"The difference between the rich people and the poor people has never been so wide in history. It's insane. Is that the message we give to the kids every day?" he said.

Through the film, which was released in the United States and France last year, Besson said he hopes children will think more about positive elements of the world and the environment around them.

"I want to talk to these kids. I want to remind them that the image they get sometimes from the world could be different," he said.

"Let's talk about the good side of humans: which is understanding each other, loving each other, sharing, respecting each other, respecting nature. That's what makes us human beings," Besson said.

The new film is an adaptation of the eponymous children's book written by Besson and it was the first of the Arthur trilogy, which also includes "Arthur and the Forbidden City" and "Arthur and the Revenge of Malthazard".

Although he once said he would only direct 10 films, with "Arthur and the Minimoys" being his last, Besson now wants to step behind the camera at least one more time to shoot a sequel.

Besson, who directed sci-fi flick "The Fifth Element," the romantic drama "The Big Blue" and who has produced more than 80 films, said his fear of running out of ideas would force him into retirement.

"I have a lot of respect for the audience and a lot of respect for myself. I can't make a film that I can't give my best or I am going to repeat myself. There's a saying in France, if you have nothing to say, shut up," he said.

"It's true. It's like, if I do a film it's because I have something to say, because it's new, because it's fresh. Otherwise I just don't do it.

"I just feel that after 30 years, I'm tired. I don't want to start a race that I can't win. I may start something in a year or maybe in 10 years, maybe never.

"But if you ask me today, I don't want to shoot anymore. I'm fine. I'm okay. It's not difficult for me, it's natural," Besson added.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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