Le Dernier Combat (The Last Battle)

Year: 1983

Production: Films du Loup

Director: Luc Besson

Starring: Pierre Jolivet, Jean Bouise, Fritz Wepper, Jean Reno, Maurice Lamy

Screenwriter: Luc Besson, Pierre Jolivet

92 minutes; B/W


Made by Besson (later one of the best-known French directors of his generation) when only 23, the arty but vigorous Le Dernier Combat is low-budgeted and photographed in black-and-white Cinemascope, and has no dialog at all. A young man (Jolivet) in an unspeaking post-holocaust world - holocaust and speechlessness remain unexplained - flies in a restored plane, meets an old doctor, matures, fights a swordsman, conquers a tribal leader and gets a girl. A dwarf lives in a locked car trunk; the tops of high-rise building project from the sand; fish fall from the sky; Samurai lurch and scuttle; women are imprisoned.

Luc Besson's latest sf movie is The Fifth Element (1997).

The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

The directorial debut of Besson (who subsequently went on to make the superior Subway [1985]), Le Dernier Combat reworks the disaster images of high-tech buildings prodding through huge sand dunes so familiar from the works of J.G. Ballard to create one of the most unusual entry-into-manhood movies of recent times. Set in the near future after an unspecified catastrophe that has left small groups of mute humans barely surviving off the few remainging stocks of food, the film and its characters are unconcerned with the hows and whys of their predicament. They simply act. Thus what might have been a story about the rebirth of civilization, as Jolivet escapes from one set of ruins in search of companionship and after a string of adventures finds a mate, becomes in Besson's hands no more (and no less) than a rite of passage in which Jolivet proves himself a worthy inhabitant of the surreal world he has fallen heir to. The result is a fine film, all the better for his refusal to look back and instead, like its characters, make playthings of the obsolete objects that populate it.

The Overlook Film Encyclopedia - Science Fiction

Back to the List