French director Luc Besson, whose new film showcases Taiwan’s capital as the home of its heroine, praised Taipei as one of the world’s most photogenic cities when he visited Tuesday for its local premiere.

Besson came to Taiwan last year to shoot the science-fiction film ‘Lucy’, the biggest movie production on the island since director Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning ‘Life of Pi’ was partly shot there in 2011. At a press conference to promote ‘Lucy’, which goes on release in Taipei Wednesday, the director - who also wrote the script - waxed lyrical about a city little known to film-makers.

Nearly one hour of the film features scenes from Taipei, including the landmark skyscraper Taipei 101, Taoyuan international airport, some street scenes and the popular stemmed dumplings. ‘I think most of the charm is from the people,’ Besson said. ‘They always smile, they are very happy. The criminality is near zero in your country, which is a concept we don’t understand in Europe. I think the people give the flavour to the town.’

‘Some cities are very photogenic and some others are not at all. Paris is very photogenic and Taipei is very photogenic too.’ The director said ‘Lucy’ - about a woman who becomes superhuman by using 100 percent of her brain - has something for everyone as a thriller with a philosophical message. It stars Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson in the title role as a student living in Taipei. The movie explores what a simple woman who is slightly lost will do when she is suddenly given ‘the most amazing knowledge’, Besson said.