In the past several years, Luc Besson‘s name attached to a movie usually meant two things: he didn’t direct it and it’s a cheesy action film. Since The Fifth Element in 1997, Besson has directed a few films, but he’s produced many more and it felt like the man who made Leon: The Professional and La Femme Nikita was just waiting for some inspiration. Maybe he was waiting for Aung San Suu Kyi.

A Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of a Burmese General who was murdered in 1947, eventually leading to the military taking control of the country. Years later she left Burma to go to school but in 1988, after marrying a foreigner and having two sons in Oxford, she returned and immediately took her father’s place as the head of a pro-Democracy movement in the beautiful but violently oppressed country. Over twenty years and several terrible hardships later, she’s still struggling today.

This is the story of The Lady, and it’s a return to form for a more mature Besson.  It’s not flashy, it’s not action-packed, it’s just Michelle Yeoh as Suu Kyi, David Thewlis as her husband Michael (and his twin brother) and one of the most incredible true stories of standing up against evil imaginable. The film recently played at the AFI Fest Presented by Audi, opens on December 2 and you can read more after the jump. Read More »

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Throughout last year, we heard rumors of writer/producer/director Luc Besson going back to big sci-fi, but his latest directorial effort turned out to be something very different. Rather than returning to a genre in which he has already established a beachhead, Besson chose instead to chronicle the life of Burmese political activist Aung San Suu Kyi, with Michelle Yeoh in the lead role.

The result is The Lady, and a trailer for the film shows Besson applying his well-established methodology of blending effective actors with big, memorable images. Read More »

Luc Besson‘s latest film makes quite a break from what we’ve come to expect from the writer/director/producer thanks to a decade of making mostly cheap, visceral action films. The Lady stars Michelle Yeoh as Burmese revolutionary leader Aung San Suu Kyi — this is a real-life story of political oppression and resistance. The first teaser trailer, which shows Yeoh in character taking the stage in front of a throng of wildly cheering supporters, has just dropped. Along with it comes the film’s first poster, designed by Shepard Fairey, based on his design featuring the real Aung San Suu Kyi. See both below. Read More »

If you’re more interested in the typical fall slate of festival entrees than summer’s glut of tentpole action fare, this is a great week. The Toronto International Film Festival announced the first wave of films that will play the fest in September. This is a batch of about 50 titles, which makes up only a small chunk of the programming. Usually TIFF features between two and three hundred films. But these are some of the highest-profile entries.

Below you’ll find rundowns on the new films from George Clooney, Bennett Miller, Jay & Mark Duplass, Todd Solondz, Francis Ford Coppola, Cameron Crowe, Sarah Polley, Fernando Meirelles, Lars von Trier, Marc Forster, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, and Lynne Ramsay. No announcement yet of the Midnight Madness programming choices, always some of my faves, but this is a great start. Read More »

This one just came out of nowhere. For the past few months there had been word that Luc Besson might be planning a new epic romance or a massive sci-fi film. But now he’s shooting The Lady, which is a film about Burmese democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Michelle Yeoh plays the cultural heroine, who opposed military rule in Burma and spent much of the past twenty years under house arrest as a result. David Thewlis plays her husband, Michael Aris. That’s the first image from the film, above, and there are more after the break. Read More »

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