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Outspoken director Luc Besson has penned a lengthy screed titled “The Grand Illusion” hitting out at far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.
Le Pen has made it to the second round of voting and will face off against independent centrist Emmanuel Macron on May 7.
The election has been closely followed by the world’s media because of Le Pen’s isolationist rhetoric, which calls for France to leave the EU, ditch the euro currency and close the French borders while kicking out immigrants. The first round of voting completely knocked out the traditional Republican and Socialist parties, creating not only a political earthquake in France but the latest tremor in global populism.
In a lengthy Facebook post underneath a photo of the director posing with his French identity card, Besson called Le Pen a “scammer,” and urged French voters to dismiss her campaign.
It’s an unusual move that could alienate fans, as celebrities in France usually remain tight-lipped about politics and don’t engage in American-style campaigning.
The Valerian director posted the essay addressed to “compatriots, friends and brothers,” and said voters are being manipulated by easy promises.
“Sentimental folks, yearning for ideals, strung along by fine words, tired of believing, revolted by unkept promises,” wrote Besson, saying the French are “weakened, disillusioned, an easy prey.”
“We are the scammed,” he added.
Besson went on to examine the National Front’s legacy and that of Le Pen’s father and party founder Jean-Marie Le Pen, saying that the “family business [is] trading in fascism, racism and xenophobia.” He recalled National Front’s more violent days when foreign youths were attacked and one was killed after being thrown in the Seine.
Marine Le Pen ousted her father, a longtime Holocaust denier, from the party in 2011 and has since set out to soften the image of both herself and the party.
“However, the devil is the devil and when he pretends to change it’s to abuse us better,” Besson wrote.
He noted that the younger Le Pen now presents herself as the candidate of the people, even though she grew up in a wealthy Parisian suburb and has never held a job outside of politics.
“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,” the filmmaker wrote.
“How can you claim to be the ‘candidate of the people’ without ever working for or with the people?” he wondered. “And how can you declare your opposition to the ‘system’ while milking it for all it’s worth for decades?”
Besson noted that campaign funds are paid for by the French government, unlike private fundraising in the U.S., and said the party profits off of inflated campaign expenses, taking money from the taxpayers. The Front National is little more than a branding and PR stunt for the family to profit, he said.
The EuropaCorp founder wrote that it is his job to tell stories, but he never claims they are real, unlike Le Pen.
“The film Ms. Le Pen has put together for us is just awful. The script doesn’t make sense and it has terrible actors playing not just the lead but also the supporting roles,” Besson wrote. “Ms. Le Pen gets the basics all wrong — in a real situation, she delivers zero truth. Her eyes are devoid of love, compassion or emotion. Her performance is embarrassing. The audience doesn’t interest her. She just wants to make sure she has top billing.”
He said her isolationist policies will only exacerbate the country’s high unemployment rate and her plan to leave the EU and close the borders is a path to war.
“When and where in history has turning in on oneself had positive results? Never,” Besson continued. “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.”
He closed by asking French people to vote against National Front and Le Pen.
“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,” wrote Besson. “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.”
He concluded: “The world is watching. History is waiting.”
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