French writer-director Luc Besson poses during a photocall for his movie 'Lucy' at the 67th Locarno International Film Festival, 06 August 2014, in Locarno, Switzerland. (EPA Photo/Urs Flueeler)

‘Fifth Element’ Director Besson Honored with Top French Award

JANUARY 21, 2015

Paris. Film director and producer Luc Besson has been honored with a top award in his native France for a prolific career that produced “The Fifth Element”, among other blockbusters.

The organizers of the Cesars, France’s equivalent to the Oscars, said Besson had been awarded a Gold Medal at a small ceremony Monday evening for his “exceptional artistic and entrepreneurial contribution over the past three decades”.

The prize — which is being awarded this year for the first time, a month ahead of the Cesars ceremony — “symbolizes the gratitude of French cinema towards the man who has upheld French excellence”, the French Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques said.

Besson, 55, is best known for big budget action films such as “La Femme Nikita”,  “Leon: The Professional” and the sci-fi thriller “The Fifth Element”.

In France, his films are often described as “very Hollywood”.

In 2012, he opened a studio complex in the gritty Paris suburb of Seine-Saint-Denis.

Several films have already been made at Besson’s ‘Cinema City’, including his futuristic hit “Lucy” starring Scarlett Johansson.

The Cesars academy praised the venue for rivaling “the most mythical studios” and for employing mostly French staff.

The Cesars award ceremony takes place on February 20 in Paris.

Agence France-Presse