The Last Battle

The film “The Last Battle” (original title: “Le dernier combat“) by Luc Besson, available in Germany, Austria and Switzerland via UCM.ONE‘s film label B-Spree Classics, was also produced by the later star director Luc Besson (“Léon: The Professional“, “Nikita“, “The Fifth Element“, “The Big Blue“, “Lucy“, “Anna“) as well as Pierre Jolivet. The film, which Luc Besson directed for the first time, was nominated for the César in the category “Best Debut Film” in 1984.

Synopsis

Sometime after the nuclear apocalypse: Earth is a desolate pile of rubble with few resources left. The few surviving people have either come together in small communities or roam the world as loners. They have forgotten how to speak and conflicts are usually settled violently. There is a struggle for bare survival. A man (Pierre Jolivet) flees from a brutal gang in his improvised flying machine after injuring their leader (Fritz Wepper). When he crashes his flying machine, a doctor (Jean Bouise) unexpectedly grants him refuge. But even here the man is not safe, because in the end only the strongest will survive…

About screenwriter and producer Luc Besson

Luc Paul Maurice Besson, as the director, screenwriter and producer’s full name is called, was born in Paris on 18 March 1959. As his parents both worked as diving instructors, Luc Besson spent the first years of his youth in various European countries. Because he was often bored at school, he preferred to write down stories that came to him. This is how he came to write the first drafts of “The Deep Blue” and “The Fifth Element” as a teenager, which he would later bring to the big screen.
The Parisian actually wants to devote himself to marine biology and in particular the protection of dolphins, but a diving accident ruins these career plans. But soon after, the Parisian discovered his interest in film, took on various jobs in the industry and applied to the French film school “La Fémis”, but was rejected because it was thought that his directorial idols Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Milos Forman would disqualify Luc Besson for admission to the school.

So in 1983, the jack-of-all-trades shot “The Last Battle“, his first feature film, with superstar Jean Reno in the leading role. In quick succession he then shot “Subway“, “The Deep Blue“, “Nikita” and “Léon: The Professional“, thus already sealing his stardom. This was the only way he was able to get 100 million dollars from the major studios to shoot “The Fifth Element“. The film grossed more than twice the amount in the cinemas and was the most commercially successful European film of all time for many years.

Along the way, the successful director also invents the series “Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard“, which he films himself from 2006. Fortunately for the audience, he discards his plan to stop directing after ten films and retire from the business, otherwise further hits like “Lucy” with Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman or “Anna” with Sasha Luss and Helen Mirren would probably never have been made.

Filmography (as director, excerpt)
1983 The Last battle
1985 Subway
1998 The Deep Blue
1990 Nikita
1994 Léon: The Professional
1997 The Fifth Element
1999 Johanna from Orleans
2006 Arthur and the Revenge of Maltazard
2011 The Lady
2014 Lucy
2017 Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
2019 Anna

Pierre Jolivet (as „the man“)

The French actor, director and screenwriter Pierre Jolivet was born on 9 October 1952 in the commune of Saint-Mandé, in the Val-de-Marne department, bordering directly on Paris to the west. At the age of only four, he appeared in the film “The Priest of Pigalle“, but later first acted in theatre and founded a comedy duo with his brother Marc. Several roles in front of the camera followed before Pierre Jolivet delivered his first directorial work with “Strictly Personal” and was promptly nominated for a César for best first work. When not in front of or behind the camera, the multi-talented actor writes screenplays, more than 30 of which have already been made into films.

When not in front of or behind the camera, the multi-talented director writes screenplays, more than 30 of which have already been made into films. Among the Frenchman’s most important works are certainly “The Price of Freedom” (1989), “Zim and Co. (2005) and “Can this be love?” (2007). In “Zim and Co.“, a comedy about four young men who have quite a few problems because of their parole conditions, Jolivet has a cameo appearance and his son Adrien, born in 1981, also plays one of the main roles.

Original title: Le dernier combat

Director: Luc Besson

Screenplay: Luc Besson, Pierre Jolivet

Actors & actresses: Pierre Jolivet, Jean Bouise, Fritz Wepper, Jean Reno, Christiane Krüger, Maurice Lamy, Pierre Carrive Pierre Carrive, Jean-Michel Castanié, Michel Doset, Bernard Havet, Marcel Berthomier Marcel Berthomier, Petra Müller Petra Müller, Garry Jode

Producers: Luc Besson, Pierre Jolivet

Executive producer: Constantin Alexandrov

Cinematography: Carlo Varini

Camera & technical departement: Jean-François Drigeard, Vincent Jeannot

Sound: Chris David, André Naudin

Editing: Sophie Schmit

Production design: Thierry Flamand, Christian Grosrichard

Makeup: Maud Baron

Costume design: Marie Beau, Martine Rapin

Music: Éric Serra

 

Production company: Les Films du Loup

Yer of production: 1983

Genre: Science-Fiction

Country: France

Language: non, only the two words “Bon jour” (french)

Subtitles: German

 

Length: 93 Min

Rating: FSK 16

Aspect ratio: 

Colour: black & white

Sound Mix: Dolby Stereo

Resolution: Full-HD

Other titles:

German: Der letzte Kampf

English: The Last Battle

Spanish: El último combate

Portuguese: O Último Combate

Greek: Η Τελευταία Μάχη

Turkish: Son Dövüş

Hungarian: Élethalálharc

Russian: Последняя битва

Japanese: 最後の戦い

Awards:

1983 Avoriaz Fantastic Film Festival: Special Jury Prize -> The Last Stand

1983 Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival: Critics’ Prize -> The Last Stand

Nominated:

1984 French Film Award César: Nomination in the category “Best Debut Film” -> The Last Stand

Film label: B-Spree Classics

 

Theatrical start (France): 06.04.1984

Blu-Ray/DVD-Start (Germany): 22.04.2022

Jean Reno (as „the brute“)  

Juan Moreno y Herrera Jiménez is the civil name of the world-famous superstar. His parents, who came from the Spanish province of Andalusia, were living in exile in Morocco when little Juan Reno was born on 30 July 1948 in Casablanca, which like the rest of the country was a French protectorate at the time. After two years of school in France, Jean Reno returned to Morocco and trained as an actor.

After his subsequent military service, the Frenchman moved to Paris and tried to make a poor living from acting. In 1981 he finally met Luc Besson, who from then on cast him in bigger and bigger roles in his own films. His breakthrough and first nomination for a César came with Jean Reno as apnoea diver Enzo Molinari in Besson’s box-office hit “The Deep Blue“. The rest is legend: Alongside the enchanting Natalie Portman, the actor plays the taciturn professional killer Léon in “Léon – The Professional“. After hardly any director except Luc Besson had taken notice of Jean Reno until then, Hollywood now came knocking and signed the actor for roles in big blockbusters such as “Mission: Impossible“. But a permanent move to the United States is not an option for Reno, who is still trying to make the same number of films in France as in Hollywood. As early as 1999, President Jacques Chirac made the Frenchman a Knight of the Legion of Honour, five years later an Officer of the Legion of Honour. He is also the recipient of a “François Truffaut Award” and a “European Film Award” for his outstanding achievements.

Jean Reno is married on his third marriage to actress and model Zofia Borucka and is the father of six children.

Filmography (excerpt)
1979 Womanlight
1982 The Passerby
1983 The Last Battle
1985 Subway
1989 IThe Deep Blue
1990 Nikita
1992 The Visitors
1994 Léon – The Professional
1995 French Kiss
1996 Mission: Impossible
1998 Gozilla
2000 Ronin
2000 The Crimson Rivers
2001 Wasabi
2002 Rollerball
2004 Crimson Rivers 2: Angels of the Apocalypse
2004

Hotel Ruanda

2006 The Pink Panther
2006 The Da Vinci Code – Sakrileg
2009 The Pink Panther 2
2010 The Round Up
2012 Alex Cross
2014 Hector and the Search for Happiness
2017

The Girl in the Fog

2020 Da 5 Bloods

Éric Serra (Composer of the soundtrack)  

Composer Éric Serra created the soundtrack for the film. The main piece is the song “Parking“. Although Éric Serra has hardly achieved stardom so far, he is represented on the soundtracks of many well-known films. Director Luc Besson, for example, repeatedly enlists the Frenchman, born in 1959, for his films. Serra was already involved in “Subway” from 1985 and contributed two songs. He also had his first and so far only appearance in front of the camera in this film, when he played a bass player in a supporting role. This was followed by cinema hits such as “The Deep Blue” (1988), “Léon the Professional” (1994), “James Bond 007: Golden Eye” (1995) and, in 1997, some of the truly exceptional pieces on the soundtrack of “The Fifth Element“, another hit by star director Luc Besson.

During the entire film, there is virtually no text, only “Bon jour” is whispered twice. Incidentally, Jean Reno received a fee of 500 francs for his participation, but the film had a budget of around 17 million francs.

German actor Fritz Wepper can be seen in a supporting role. Fritz Wepper, born in Munich in 1941, played the role of Inspector Harry Klein continuously from 1969 to 1998, first in 66 episodes alongside Eric Ode in the series “Der Kommissar” until 1974 and then in the series “Derrick” alongside Horst Tappert. In 2007, Wepper then acted again in the Norwegian comedy series “Rikets røst” in three episodes a version of his role Harry Klein. From 2002 to 2021, Wepper then played the mayor Wolfgang Wöller, who in the series “Um Himmels Willen” (English: “For God’s Sake“) repeatedly has trouble with nuns who are as lovable as they are quick-witted.

Press comments

“The Last Battle’ is raw, unadorned and authentic. With astonishingly realistic images of run-down areas and buildings, as well as an interesting story, Besson shows that he could have actually directed much more profoundly than he showed with all his later works.” (blu-ray-reviews.net)

“With a minimal budget, Luc Besson has created a true work of art in his debut feature that has many fans, but certainly just as many critics… For me, an insider tip!” (dvd-sucht.de)

“‘The Last Battle’ is one of the best entries on the post-Armageddon Earth alongside ‘Mad Max 2′, ’12 Monkeys’, ‘Matrix 1’ and ‘Delicatessen’.” (ofdb review)

“‘The Last Batle’ is a curiosity and a little too long for its narrow subject. But it’s also a bravura first film, using the simplest of means to show humour, pathos, suspense and even a well-articulated definition of basic human needs.” (Janet Maslin, nytimes.com)

“A bold, beautiful film! Personally, I’ve always considered “Subway” Luc Besson’s best work, but ‘The Last Stand’ is just as impressive.” (Dr. Svet Atanasov, blu-ray.com)

“‘The Last Battle’ requires some patience, but it’s really worth it. However, even if you share this opinion, be prepared to argue about the finer points. I, for one, am a big fan of the minimalist elements of Eric Serra’s score, whose low tones, heartbeat percussion and electronic abstractions seem to me perfectly suited to the other-worldliness of the setting.” (cineoutsider.com)

“The post-apocalyptic vision that director Luc Besson creates in his feature-length debut is as interesting in its bleak, bizarre nature as the radically stripped-down production…” (Patrick Reinbott_moviebreak.co.uk)

“It’s an impressive first feature for Besson. He creates a vivid world of junk and dirt and guys with weird faces. There’s something of Jean-Pierre Jeunet in some of Besson’s work, and this film leans more on that side than the exploitation producer’s.” (outlawvern.com)

“There is a cinema of autism, and Luc Besson is its prophet” (Zeit Online).

“Stylised vision of the end times” (Video.co.uk)

“Surreal end-time fable” (Frankfurter Rundschau)

The Last Battle | Teaser ᴴᴰ

Physical equipment and technical data

Limited Mediabook | Picture format Blu-Ray: WS 2.35:1 / 1080p 24 / bw; DVD: WS 2.35:1 (anamorphic) | Total running time Blu-Ray: approx. 93 min.; Total running time DVD: approx. 89 min. | Sound format Blu-Ray: French DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0; DVD: French DD 2.0 | Subtitles: German, Extras: Original trailer, artwork gallery, 16-page booklet – Mediabook | Rating: FSK 16

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