If the French New Wave established France as the global champion of art-house cinema, the arrival of the age of the blockbuster made the avowedly terrestrial alternative look tremulous and quaint. Black-and-white ménages à trois are lovely and all, but there were Death Stars to blow up.
Then came Luc Besson. The director of La Femme Nikita, Léon: The Professional, The Fifth Element, and Lucy, and producer of the lucrative Transporter and Taken franchises, is one of the most bombastic, moneymaking-est, money-losing-est filmmakers in French history. He is responsible for half of the country’s record-box-office successes, but today, due to a string of questionable professional and personal decisions, Besson’s production-and-distribution company, EuropaCorp, is in receivership, and the filmmaker personally faces numerous allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct, including one of rape, all of which Besson categorically denies.