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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Sacre Bleu! Will Luc Besson Retire?

In an interview with the Guardian, director-producer Luc Besson, 47, says he plans to retire. Is he serious?
And if he is, who’ll point his camera up the skirts of little gun-toting gamines? Your work on earth is not not finished, Luc Besson! Cinema needs you. Pre-adolescent boys need you.

Until we get this madness sorted out, we’ll have to live in hope of ANGEL-A, the story of a small time hustler who is rescued from suicide by his guardian angel. It’s what reporter Xan Brooks describes as “Besson’s remake of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, except the angel is a peroxide vamp who offers to solve the hero’s money worries by prostituting herself in the nightclubs of Paris.”
You know, like you do.
“As played by newcomer Rie Rasmussen, Angela proves a very Bessonian figure: leggy and lippy, a grungy euro-chick with a heart of gold.”
US audiences won’t see ANGEL-A till early 2007, but the Besson oeuvre is very much in evidence in DISTRICT B-13, the movie he produced. A martial arts and guns and jumping off buildings action story called BANLIEU 13 in French, it showcases the sport called “parkour” – that gravity defying bouncing you’ve seen in Nike ads. The inventor, David Belle, is the star, and it’s really entertaining, like a human Roadrunner vs. Wiley Coyote movie, when he does his thing.
Unfortunately, director Pierre Morel permits frequent interruptions for dialogue, execution style shootings, and the patented Besson female character, the pouty, supposedly deadly yet actually quite helpless gamine, who is treated at least once to a camera angle that lets you see up her skirt, up her crack, and possibly well into her lower GI tract.
Send an encouraging word to Luc Besson at his official site.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon