… because he’s the head of the jury of the Shanghai International Film Festival, and yet managed to find time during this busy schedule to head up to Beijing to promote his new book and film. People have said that despite the SIFF not being the most prestigious or high-profile of film fests, Besson ought to have taken his job more seriously — with all those films to watch, and a jury to head (the head of the jury often has to settle disagreements about the films and make sure all decisions are made fairly), how could someone just head over to Beijing, and for three days no less? Bad form — who knows? In this interview Besson makes it seem as if he worked hard on the 17 films in the competition, but what would you expect him to say?
In more interesting news, the SIFF concluded with a dialogue between Besson and that mercurial Orson Welles-like figure of Chinese cinema — Jiang Wen. In this dialogue, Jiang Wen accused Chinese films of being “agricultural” films, saying that many Chinese filmmakers nowadays think you can just throw a lot of money and “fertilizer” on a film production and that thereby it will grow into something “nutritious” — when in fact, it’s more like those cases where the animals and the meat that eventually goes to markets is injected with water to make it look more fulsome. Jiang also said some of those who are now making movies shouldn’t be making them, while others who ought to be making movies cannot — all digs at Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige, we think. However, when the press asked him about his new film (which stars his love interest) and how “nutritious” it would be, Jiang curtly replied, “This dialogue is over,” upon which he unceremoniously up and left.
Photo from Ludovic Copere’s Flickr page.