American Genre Film in the French Banlieue: Luc Besson and Parkour
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This article analyzes the cultural politics of Luc Besson's recent producing ventures. It argues that his EuropaCorp studio's three parkour films, Yamakasi (2001), Banlieue 13 (2004), and Banlieue 13: Ultimatum (2009), offer ways to think about how Besson negotiates the competing pressures of Hollywood cinema, a globalizing commercial film industry, and traditionalist conceptions of French cinema. By locating his Cite du Cinema in the marginalized French suburbs and by setting some of its films there, Besson and other contemporary French filmmakers fuse French banlieue culture with American genre formulas to imagine what a commercially viable French popular cinema might look like.