Taipei stars in Besson's new film
FRENCH director Luc Besson, whose new film showcases Taiwan's capital as the home of its heroine, praised Taipei as one of the world's most photogenic cities when he visited on Tuesday for its local premiere.
Besson was in Taiwan last year to shoot the science-fiction film Lucy, the biggest movie production on the island since director Lee Ang's Oscar-winning Life of Pi was partly shot there in 2011.
At a press conference to promote Lucy, which was released in Taipei yesterday, the director - who also wrote the script - waxed lyrical about a city little known to film-makers.
Nearly one hour of the film features scenes from Taipei, including the landmark skyscraper Taipei 101, Taoyuan international airport, some street scenes and the popular steamed dumplings.
"I think most of the charm is from the people," Besson said.
"They always smile, they are very happy. The criminality is near zero...which is a concept we don't understand in Europe. I think the people give the flavour to the town.
"Some cities are very photogenic, and some others are not at all. Paris is very photogenic, and Taipei is very photogenic too."
The director said Lucy - about a woman who becomes superhuman by using 100 per cent of her brain - has something for everyone, as a thriller with a philosophical message.
It stars Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson in the title role, as a student living in Taipei.
The movie explores what a simple woman who is slightly lost will do when she is suddenly given "the most amazing knowledge", Besson said.
"Some young audiences can like the film just for the action and the fun," he said.
"Maybe they don't catch everything, they will catch it later, and the adults can enjoy the chase, and the stunts, but also the content, so I think everybody will be happy."
"If you don't like action or philosophy, you still can watch the nice dress and Scarlett Johansson in it, and if you don't like Scarlett, there are gorgeous shots of Taipei," added Besson, who also directed La Femme Nikita and Leon.
He described Lucy as a thriller that examines what people do with power when they have it.
"So there is a real question about power - who deserves that power. I think the only thing you can really do with power is to pass it on, because we have 100 billion cells in our bodies which die every day and they pass what they know to the other cells."