Fueled by the desire to create films and shed light on certain aspects of society, the young French director Dylan Besseau has set himself the goal of highlighting MMA, a combat sport widely accepted in the United States but long shunned in France. It wasn’t until 2020 that the country finally legalized this sport. Through his upcoming documentary “Blast Punch,” the director aims to address this subject by blending fiction and reality.

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Admiring Bruce Lee, the Chinese actor of the 70s who pioneered Western martial arts films, Dylan did not hesitate to address this theme in homage to the legendary actor. Drawing on the assistance of his two filmmaker friends, Antoine Godet and Guillaume Gevart, whom he considers as brothers, the young man embarks on a significant challenge: to create a feature film on the theme of violence. This film tells the story of Nicolas, a 29-year-old man released from prison who is trying to reintegrate into society. He takes up MMA to channel his anger and give meaning to his life. He meets Lewis, a 31-year-old man who works clandestinely for Uber Brawl, an app that allows people to “order” a mercenary to engage in fights on their behalf. These two personalities with diametrically opposed objectives will give rise to a tale of rivalry.

The cinematographic influence of Dylan Besseau could be characterized by directors such as Kwak Jae-yongPark Chan-wookWong Kar-waiMartin Scorsese, and Chantal Akerman. In terms of form, particularly in the photography of his films, there is an attempt to highlight the entirety and composition of the shots, something inherited from Asian cinema. Dylan’s approach resonates with the thoughts of French filmmaker Nicolas Philibert, a documentary stalwart, who believes in two types of documentary directors: those who write before shooting and those who shoot after writing, asserting that there’s no superior method, just generational differences. He observes that in the past, filmmakers often shot spontaneously without a script, as seen in the works of Wong Kar-wai. Nowadays, the trend in documentaries leans towards writing before shooting. This inclination towards spontaneity is evident in Dylan’s latest film “Gevart,” drawing inspiration from James Benning and Chantal Akerman, particularly in its minimalist approach and non-linear or even nonexistent narration. It’s experimental cinema that requires specific references to grasp fully. Dylan expresses that art is not competitive; it’s the expression of the soul. He believes in allowing audiences to interpret freely, without imposing meaning. He asserts that there are no better or worse works, just propositions that either resonate or don’t. Despite experimenting with institutional and art-house cinema, Dylan doesn’t feel he has found his artistic style yet. He believes it requires extensive production to discover the preferred technique. Hence, through his new film “Blast Punch,” he aims to explore a more conventional direction, one he refers to as “McDonald’s filmmaking,” adopting the codes of mainstream Netflix productions. He envisions creating a film without artistic pretensions, embracing a very American style with contemporary codes.


While translating the subjectivity of taste into objectivity may seem presumptuous, Dylan is aware that everyone approaches a work in their own way. He recalls encountering someone who insisted that they wouldn’t watch a film unless it was in 4K. Dylan can empathize with this perspective, recognizing the challenges of creating a universally appealing film when the director holds strong biases. He emphasizes the importance of embracing one’s vision wholeheartedly and then transitioning to new projects.

Throughout his career, Dylan has often explored social issues in his documentaries, without delving too much into his own artistic style. But now, with his new film project, “Blast Punch“, he aims to express his personal vision of cinema by highlighting MMA, a subject still relatively unexplored in France. Modern Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) traces its roots back to various combat practices and martial arts from around the globe, with its emergence in the United States in the 1990s. The fundamental concept of MMA revolves around the integration of a diverse range of combat techniques borrowed from disciplines such as boxing, judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, kickboxing, and karate, among others. This fusion of combat styles has given rise to a dynamic and competitive sport that challenges fighters to showcase their versatility and skills in a wide range of combat scenarios. “Blast Punch” is a blend of fictional situations and real combat, with both actors being real MMA fighters. To bring this project to fruition, Dylan relies on his network. For the production aspect, he trusts Antoine Godet, supported by Hervé TchikladzéRomain Denous, and Matteo Morit on the financial side. As for cinematography, he trusts Guillaume Gevart, who previously held this position on the film “Gevart“. In terms of sound, Dylan will attempt to blend synthwave and hip-hop music to enhance the film’s edgy and dynamic atmosphere. He also hopes to include opera music for a specific scene and blend this musical style with something modern without falling into clichés. The idea behind this film is to visually depict the violent aspect inherent in human beings with a somewhat Spinozian and deterministic perspective, challenging certain existential and universal thoughts of humanity. Without delving too much into the intellectual side, the goal of this film remains to be entertaining and unpretentious.

Whether in a street brawl or inside a ring, there’s often a philosophical aspect behind these disciplines, such as self-transcendence and self-control. The renowned Bruce Lee was one of the pioneers in this field, the fight itself serves as a form of body language, but what ensues goes far beyond. Sometimes, it touches upon metaphysical aspects; in the film “Fight Club” the brawl serves as an outlet for individuals alienated by capitalism. This human sentiment of anger and violence forms the pillars of Dylan Besseau’s upcoming film. In his desire to explore human behavior in its most primitive state, in the positive sense of the term, Dylan seeks to express both his artistic vision and repressed emotions through his work. As we know, violence has always been an aesthetic element in cinema. One could mention the scene from “Old Boy” where the hero, armed with his hammer, faces off against a whole group alone, or “Crows Zero” whose synopsis could fit in a few lines, but whose fight scenes make it a complete work in its own right. In this vein, “Blast Punch” will seek to carve its place, a film portraying mixed martial arts in France led by two actors who will portray their own lives, that of MMA fighters. A French tribute to a sport that first emerged in the United States.

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