Global Times: Renowned French director Luc Besson brings latest work ‘Dogman’ to China USA – English APAC – English

BEIJING, Dec. 11, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — When Luc Besson’s latest film Dogman hits Chinese cinemas, it is expected to further boost the rebounding Chinese box office so far dominated by domestic films throughout 2023.

While his previous offering – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – is remembered for its cosmic adventure and an interplanetary fashion extravaganza, Dogman is to move the audiences with the captivating theme of fortitude amid life’s vicissitudes when it becomes available at Chinese cinemas on December 15.

During its screening at the Pingyao International Film Festival in October in Shanxi Province, the film moved the 1,500-stong audience to tears. It was Besson’s first trip to China after six years. He also expressed his emotions publicly, touched by the audience’s heartfelt reaction when the film concluded. “I was sitting in the first row. I could feel their tears. When the film finished, they gave me so much appreciation,” Besson told the Global Times during an interview in Beijing.

It was reported that the director was also moved to tears when the audience in Venice gave the showing a six-minute-long applause at the end.

Having seen his own film many times, Besson admits he sometimes still gets caught up in its emotion.

Besson wrote the script in which the protagonist, a young man named Douglas, develops a bond with dogs and seeks revenge on his abusive father. Having been the victim of mistreatment at home, Douglas becomes disillusioned with the human world, and only the love of his dogs can bring salvation.

Help people in pain

The idea of making this story into a film came when the director read an article about a father who caged his son for years. “I was trying to imagine how this kid survived; how did he get out of the cage; what he’s gonna become. He can become very bad or very good. That’s his choice,” he said.

While the movie is about pain, Besson presents his preferred version of what the young man could become despite the pain.

Agreeing with the ancient Chinese saying “Man is born good,” Besson said “people are born good, and sometimes they become bad because of the circumstances.”

“No matter what your pain is, it’s your choice to make it good. I really want to spread this message: You can help people in pain,” he said.

Besson gives Caleb Landry Jones high praises for his excellent performance. “On a scale from 0 to 10, I will give him 25. I wish I will be lucky enough to make more films with him.”

Other main actors in the film, however, are far less easy to cooperate with.

Casting the dogs is in itself a fun and difficult task. First, they collected all the pictures of the dogs and tried to put the pictures next to each other, in order to form a team with enough diversity, to have every kind of dogs in the film as “a reflection of the entire world.”

In terms of managing the dogs to have them perform, “you try to organize miracles with the dogs, and you have to be very patient. You have to know them and learn, and do the best that you can to organize this mess.”

Booming industry

Having won high recognition in China for his previous works, Besson told the Global Times that he never reads viewers’ comments about what he makes. “Everyone has opinions, good or bad. I’m not hiding from the bad ones, [but I’m] not looking for the good ones, either.”

His passion lies solely in making the film, not in the conversation of viewers. He took the Forbidden City as an example, describing it as “one of the most amazing architecture I’ve ever seen.”

“Do you think at the time people built it, they would think a French man would come and say ‘OMG, it’s wonderful!'”

“A 60-year-old man in China, or a 13-year-old girl in Germany will all watch the film. They are not of the same culture or age. Someone not born today will watch Dogman in 20 years, and I’m probably not there,” he said. “I just hope they will take something from the film.”

Having not been in China for six years, Besson observed changes in the Chinese filmmaking industry during his visit in October. He met with leading Chinese directors and actors like Ning Hao and Huang Xuan in Pingyao, and saw a booming industry with a lot of energy, predicting that the Chinese film market is likely to become the world’s biggest in a few years once again.

The film box office in 2023 has seen a fast rebound after the pandemic, reaching more than 50 billion yuan ($7.01 billion) as of mid-November.

Staying in China for almost 10 days in October, Besson came back to China again and appeared for promotional events in Shanghai over the weekend. For Besson, Chinese culture is full and complex. “I want to spend more time to know people here better; to talk to people.”

He is also open to cooperating with Chinese film producers. With a lot of experience himself, Besson said he would be very happy to help younger directors, and probably “steal” some energy from the young people.

SOURCE Global Times

Originally published at



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