Director Luc Besson is known for his expertly made thriller-action films that transcend cultural boundaries, and has risen to fame for his imaginative visual technique and breathtaking action sequences. This August, World Movies showcases three visually ravishing films from this acclaimed French director.
Monday 24 August 8.30pm
The Big Blue (USA, 1988)
The highest-grossing French film of the 1980s, Luc Besson’s cult hit The Big Blue charts the competition and friendship between divers Jacques and Enzo – first in their youth, and then when they meet again at the World Free Diving Championships in Sicily years later. A dreamy adolescent, Jacques has grown into a solitary man, caught between the solidity of the real world and the spiritual beckoning of “the big blue”, in particular the dolphins swimming below. He possesses a unique connection to the sea, the ability to slow his heartbeat and circulation on deep dives, a phenomenon previously only observed in whales and dolphins. Enzo, however, has become the World Champion at his sport with a very different approach. Their rivalry reignited, the pair spur each other on to deeper and deadlier dives. Besson’s first English language production is a story of extremes; of love and solitude, friendship and rivalry, life and death.
Tuesday 25 August 8.30pm
La Femme Nikita (France, 1990)
When drug-addicted teen Nikita shoots a cop in a robbery gone wrong, her sentence is death. But behind prison walls, she is given a secret ultimatum: harness her penchant for violence, or face her executioner. After three years of martial arts, weapons and etiquette training, Nikita is reborn as Josephine, a sexy, sophisticated assassin, released back into normal society with instructions to build a cover life for her killer job. When she meets Marco, it seems the murderous instinct of her teenage years may be behind her, but can she reconcile her new-found feelings with her deadly profession?
Wednesday 26 August 8.30pm
Leon: The Professional (France, 1994)
Leon is a deadly and elusive killer. He lives a routine life, alone in New York with just his pot-plant for company – until the day his twelve year-old neighbour Mathilde (Natalie Portman in her screen debut) rings his doorbell in desperation. Mathilde has just narrowly escaped being murdered along with her parents and baby brother by a ruthless and corrupt cop and his colleagues. Leon reluctantly takes Mathilde under his wing, and the two go on the run. But Mathilde wants revenge, and as she soon discovers, Leon can teach her how to exact it.