Filmmaker Luc Besson blasted French presidential hopeful Marine Le Pen in a scathing essay on Saturday, calling the Front National candidate a “scammer” and a “perfect representative of the Establishment she denounces.”
In a lengthy post on his Facebook page, the 58-year-old director of Leon The Professional and the upcoming Valerian urged his fellow countrymen to reject the populist, nationalist message of Le Pen, who came in second place behind centrist Emmanuel Macron in France’s first-round presidential election this month and will face Macron in a run-off in June.
“We are the scammed,” Besson wrote. “Sentimental folks, yearning for ideals, strung along by fine words, tired of believing, revolted by unkept promises. Weakened, disillusioned, an easy prey—like a wounded animal alone in the jungle.”
As for who is doing the scamming, Besson lists two culprits: “the Le Pen family and the Front National.”
“What a joke!” the director exclaimed of Le Pen’s claim to be the “anti-Establishment candidate” and a “candidate for the people.”
“Marine is an heiress, raised in wealth and luxury in Saint-Cloud, a well-heeled suburb of Paris,” he wrote. “She has never really worked in her life: neither in a company, nor in a factory, and definitely not on a farm. She has never contributed to France’s growth, and has never created any jobs (except fake ones apparently). She is, in reality, the perfect representative of the Establishment she denounces, living off handouts from Brussels, and exploiting the system in every possible way to her advantage.”
“How can you claim to be the ‘candidate of the people’ without ever working for or with the people? And how can you declare your opposition to the ‘system’ while milking it for all it’s worth for decades?” he added.
As for Le Pen’s party, the Front National, Besson calls it a “nice little business, whose upper echelons comprise the elite of French fascism.”
“When and where in history has turning in on oneself had positive results? Never,” the director wrote. “Withdrawal brings isolation. Isolation leads to totalitarianism. Totalitarianism spawns fascism. Fascism results in war. Five thousand years of history are there as proof, and the little Saint-Cloud heiress cannot change history.”
Besson closed his essay with a call for French citizens to reject Le Pen and embrace diversity, which he called an “opportunity” and a “strength.”
“Let’s look after our country, let’s open up, let’s transcend ourselves, and let’s show the snake oil sellers that they have no place among us,” he urged. “Let’s show the rest of the world what it really means to be French. We are an open, courageous and fraternal people that has no need of two-bit ideology to get by. A great people grows even greater by supporting and reaching out to others.”
Read Besson’s full essay here.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum