liberating the world from the Twilight Zone
with the allegorical film art
of Luc Besson
by Gary W. Wright
Like most film artists who were established or emerging in the early Eighties, Luc Besson was as shocked and outraged as audiences by the helicopter crash around 2:20 am in the early morning of July 23, 1982 that killed actor/director/writer Vic Morrow and child extras Renee Chen and Myca Le on the George Folsey produced John Landis set of the Frank Marshall executive produced and Kathleen Kennedy associate produced allegorical Landis, Joe Dante, George Miller and Steven Spielberg telefilm, TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE (1983). Unlike most film artists, Besson also understood that the TZ disaster was so traumatic that it had ended the New Hollywood era and started a whole new twilit era of film art that was enhanced by computer graphic imagery (CGI) so as to pull off dangerous effects sequences digitally and prevent future film set fatalities. Indeed, an implicit that a twilit new era of film art had begun was seen and heard throughout his first twilit, ironically entitled, CGI free and allegorical indie docufeature film, LE DERNIER COMBAT (1983).
For Besson set his first allegorical Zone War salvo in a twilit black and white post-apocalyptic world midway between daylight and darkness that reminded us that the original Twilight Zone telefilm series appeared in black and white on television and that film art was now trapped in a post-TZ disaster apocalypse world. Indeed, the bleak, black and white, ruined and stripped to the basics post-apocalyptic world encountered in LE DERNIER COMBAT-a world noticeably lacking in the big budgets and splashy special/visual effects that young viewers had become used to since the arrival of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE but had turned their back on after the TZ disaster-perfectly summed up the angry and despondent atmosphere of the post-TZ disaster film world. The fact that the few male survivors of this implicitly post-TZ apocalypse world were not only mute, as if rendered speechless by the trauma of the TZ disaster and struggling to find their voice in this unexpectedly twilit new era of film art, but also mostly implicitly linked to Anglophone film artists and battling furiously and unsympathetically amongst themselves also correctly affirmed that begun had the dread allegorical Zone Wars. Significantly, the film focussed on one of these mute, embattled and unnamed men, a short, wiry, wily, bearded and art and women loving fellow who resembled and was implicitly linked to George Lucas-played by Pierre Jolivet, who also co-wrote the film.
Indeed, his implicit link to Lucas was affirmed by the fact that soon after we met him in his lonely and dusty post-apocalyptic bachelor pad in an abandoned and derelict building, he trudged across a desertscape that evoked the desert planet of Tatooine in the allegorical, CGI enhanced, Ozian themed and implicitly Spielberg roasting Lucas film, STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE (1977). Coming across a desert gang-some of whom resembled established film artists such as Spielberg (played by Maurice Lamy), Ron Howard, Stanley Kubrick and Roger Vadim-led by a dour and Sir Ridley Scott resembling and implicitly linked boss-played by Fritz Wepper-living amongst a pile of car wrecks, the mute and cunning tactician stole a battery from one of the wrecks with a license plate with the fateful Skyrocking number of ‘77’ to reaffirm his implicit link to Lucas. Fleeing with the battery with the gang in hot pursuit, the Skyrocker managed to hook it up to his home-made plane engine and fly out of his apartment just in time to escape the fury of the pursuing gang members.
The mute Skywalker soon landed in the ruins of a derelict city when either the stolen battery or the gas ran out for his plane. Here he joined a kindly old doctor who loved art and women as much as him-played by Jean Bouise-and his rare and equally mute younger woman-played by Petri Muller-at the fittingly named Clinique Chirurgicale Marceau in a desperate battle to fend off a huge and violent ‘Black Knight’-played by Jean Reno-whose size evoked Darth Vader-played by David Prowse- in STAR WARS EPSIODE IV: A NEW HOPE, but who had the beard, features and glasses of Landis, an implicit link to Landis affirmed by the fact that the ‘Black Knight’ appeared in scenes that alluded to the Landis episode of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE and the beginning of the allegorical Landis film, THE BLUES BROTHERS (1980).
Alas for the new twilit trio, the ‘Black Knight’ managed to kill the doctor and the woman. However, he was killed in turn by the Skyrocker, in the end, implying the hope of Besson that Lucas would be able to beat Landis and the TZ disaster and free film art from the Twilight Zone with the release that year of the Lucas executive produced, twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and implicitly Spielberg roasting Richard Marquand film, STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983). Significantly, as defeating the ‘Black Knight’ allowed the Skyrocker with no name or voice to fly from the ruined city and back to his bachelor pad and also replace the desert gang leader, take over his gang and get the leader’s girl-played by Christiane Kruger-Besson also implied his hope that the success of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI would allow Lucas to defeat all of the other major film artists again-particularly the Anglophone film artists-and emerge once more as the King of film art.
Besson reaffirmed the implicit intent of LE DERNIER COMBAT by alluding to the desert prologue of the allegorical and implicitly Coppola roasting Spielberg film, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977), and the post-apocalyptic outback of the allegorical and implicitly Lucas and Spielberg roasting Miller film, THE ROAD WARRIOR (1981). Besson reaffirmed his implicit intent by also alluding to the eerily prescient and twilit Sir Scott film, BLADE RUNNER (1982), a link reaffirmed by a member of the post-apocalyptic gang who resembled Rutger Hauer, who played the replicant Roy Batty in BLADE RUNNER. A fitting link to BLADE RUNNER, given that the film was partly inspired by the French adult sly fi/fantasy narrative art magazine, METAL HURLANT-recreated as HEAVY METAL in North America-and that LE DERNIER COMBAT also came across as a film inspired in part by METAL HURLANT-and presciently anticipated an openly and exuberantly HEAVY METAL HURLANT themed Besson film in the future.
Alas for audiences and Besson, Lucas and Marquand failed to defeat Landis and the TZ disaster and free film art, film artists and the Temple Theatre from the Twilight Zone with STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI. However, the gritty, unpretentious, stripped to the basics, bullshit and special effects free LE DERNIER COMBAT was fine initial combat, indeed, that fought hard to win over disgruntled audiences and succeeded in its task. This gave Besson the confidence to team up again with Bouise, Jolivet again as a co-writer, Reno, Pierre Carrive and Jean-Michel Castanie-who played two of the gang members in LE DERNIER COMBAT-producer Constantin Alexandrov, costume designer Martine Rapin, editor Sophie Schmit, composer Eric Serra-who not only contributed another original soundtrack, but also played his ‘…composer and bass player’ self-and director of photography Carlo Varini and return in full colour and fully verbal and expressive French with the twilit, Ozian themed, CGI free and allegorical indie docufeature film, SUBWAY (1985).
‘Why the fuck did you invite me to your party?’
Curiously, the film began with a cheerful, exuberant and good looking young man with wild peroxide blonde locks and wearing a tuxedo-played by Christophe Lambert-roaring down a highway full throttle in a Gremlin evoking car with a Benz driven by a Lucas lookalike and three other male passengers all in tuxedos in hot pursuit. The sight and sound reminded us of the sight and sound of the mute and unnamed man being forced to flee his post-apocalyptic apartment by home-made plane by the arrival of four determinedly vengeful thugs at the beginning of LE DERNIER COMBAT. Indeed, the sight of an actor who played one of the four determined thugs at the beginning of LE DERNIER COMBAT back again in a tux and writhing in fear and loathing in the back seat at the high speeds of the rocketing Benz openly affirmed the link of the beginning of SUBWAY to the beginning of LE DERNIER COMBAT. The allusion to the first Besson film also reminded us that the mute and unnamed man of LE DERNIER COMBAT resembled and was implicitly linked to Lucas, implying that the unnamed young blonde driver was also implicitly linked to Lucas. Indeed, the license plate of the pursuing Benz was 7038-OE-78 reaffirmed that implication, for 73 was the year of the release of the allegorical and implicitly Don Shebib roasting Lucas film, AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973); 77 was the year of the release of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE; and 83 was the year the Skyrocking dreams of Lucas crashed and burned with the failure of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI.
However, when the two cars roared into the streets of Paris, they both almost hit an older male jogger-played by Lucien Fleurot-who resembled and was implicitly linked to Freddie Francis, the director of photography of the twilit and allegorical David Lynch moving painting, DUNE (1984), an ambitious and thought provoking film that had bombed overall in the theatre. Thus, the implication was that the blonde driver was actually implicitly linked to Lynch, an implication that was reaffirmed after he was chased by his four pursuers into the Paris subway. For we soon discovered that the iconoclastic, independent and irrepressible blonde guy’s name was Fred, a name that evoked Freddie Francis. We also soon discovered that Fred was on the run and forced underground after causing a fuss by breaking into a safe at a toney party he had been invited to by Isabelle Adjani’s beautiful, beguiling, black clad and implicitly Wicked Witch of the West linked brunette whose name turned out to be Helena Kerman-a Wicked Witch who was curiously also implicitly linked to Dorothy, as a black and white photo of Helena as a girl that Fred treasured revealed her to be the twin of Judy Garland’s Dorothy Gale in the equally black and white prologue of the allegorical and implicitly Wallis Simpson bashing Victor Fleming film, THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939).
Fred’s tragicomic plight reminded us that Lynch had been invited to the toney Hollywood party by Mel Brooks, who had been so impressed with the dreamy and allegorical Lynch moving painting, ERASERHEAD (1977), that he had persuaded the equally iconoclastic and independent Lynch to direct the allegorical and implicitly David Cronenberg and Sir Ridley Scott addressing moving painting, THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980), for his Brooksfilms production company. However, while THE ELEPHANT MAN was a success, Lynch had gone into hiding by 1985 after he had also caused a fuss at the Hollywood party by failing in his attempt to heal the wounds of the TZ disaster, cleanse the cinematic universe and bring harmony back to the Temple Theatre with his pricey adaptation of DUNE, a film inspired by the equally allegorical and implicitly Robert A. Heinlein roasting Frank Herbert novel, Dune (1984).
Indeed, the sight of Fred in his tux at the beginning of the film reminded us of Jack Nance’s Henry Spencer in his black suit throughout ERASERHEAD, affirming the link of Fred to Lynch. The sight of Fred with the tux jacket and bow tie off and wearing the white dress shirt with the top button securely buttoned reaffirmed his implicit link to Lynch, reminding us that Lynch was famous for always wearing a white dress shirt with the top button securely fastened. The name of Helena also reminded us that Helena was the state capital of Montana, the birth state of Lynch, reaffirming Fred’s implicit link to Lynch. The name of Helena also evoked that of Marin Kanter’s Carrie Fisher resembling Telena in the allegorical and implicitly Lynch bashing Kathryn Bigelow and Lafayette ‘Monty’ Montgomery docufeature indie film, THE LOVELESS (1982), reaffirming Fred’s implicit link to Lynch. Last but not least, one of Fred’s new friends in the Parisian underworld was a singer named Paul-played by Arthur Simms-evoking Kyle MacLachlan’s Paul ‘Maud’dib’ Atreides of DUNE, reaffirming Fred’s implicit link to Lynch.
Significantly, Fred got into all sorts of pranks down in the Ozian underworld with the implicitly Landis and Scarecrow linked Jean-Louis aka the Roller, the implicitly Tin Man linked Flower Seller and the implicitly Cowardly Lion linked Gros Bill-played by Jean-Hughes Anglade, Richard Bohringer and Christian Gomba, respectively-all the while trying to elude Michel Galabra’s implicitly head Wicked Witch of the West castle soldier linked subway Comissaire Gesberg and the implicitly criminal gang linked pair of Helena’s husband, Raymond Kerman, and her husband’s chief goon, Jean-played by Alexandrov and Pierre-Ange le Pogan, respectively-perhaps linked to Coppola and Robert De Niro, given the resemblance of Jean to De Niro. These pranks, robberies and rockin’ tunes led to Fred being shot dead by Jean. However, the sight of Fred coming back to the life, in the end, implied the hope of Besson that Lynch too would return to form with a good allegorical moving painting that would win back audiences, a truly moving painting that would not be another disastrous and unsuccessful blockbuster heist like DUNE but a smaller and more personal allegorical moving painting which Lynch did well and did indeed do the following year with his allegorical and equally Ozian themed moving painting, BLUE VELVET (1986).
As for Besson, if he was worried that there was no place for new film artists like him-and a French one, too boot-in a film world dominated by Anglophone film artists, his fear was baseless. For audiences were too outraged and embittered by the TZ disaster, by the failure of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI to bring the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy to a satisfying trimax, and by the all too obvious and inane attempts by New Hollywood film artists to get back in their good books at the time, a desperate attempt all too exemplified by the infuriatingly pathetic attempt by Lucas and Spielberg in their dismal twilit and allegorical film, INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984), which saw the Temple of Doom’s enslaved Asian boys and girls liberated and saved by Harrison Ford’s Dr. Henry ‘Indiana’ Jones at the end of the film, so Renee Chen and Myca Le were also symbolically saved, so everything was okay, people, just relax and eat your popcorn and buy your movie tie-in merchandise, okay? So enraged, that audiences turned eagerly to openly anti-Lucas and Spielberg film artists like Besson and Cameron, and embraced punky and spunky allegorical films like LE DERNIER COMBAT and SUBWAY, and righteously furious and allegorical Cameron Zonebusters like THE TERMINATOR (1984) and ALIENS (1986).
Audiences also enjoyed a playful roast of Besson in the implicit form of Lester, the gang leader of Zone 7-played by Tim Thomerson-in the allegorical and post-TZ apocalypse Steve De Jarnatt film, CHERRY 2000 (1987)-which affirmed its implicit Besson roasting intent with all sorts of sarcastic allusions to LE DERNIER COMBAT and SUBWAY, along with such pre- and post-TZ apocalypse films as THE ROAD WARRIOR and the allegorical Miller and George Ogilvie film, MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME (1985). Audiences also appeared to enjoy the implicit roasting Besson received in the form of Jeroen Krabbe’s duplicitous Koskov in the allegorical John Glen film, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS (1987), its Serra evoking soundtrack underlining the implicit Besson roasting intent of the film. However, audiences also flocked eagerly back to Besson when he returned with Alexandrov, Bouise, Reno, Serra and Varini on his next twilit, CGI free and allegorical indie docufeature film, THE BIG BLUE (1988).
Curiously, the opening three part twilit black and white prologue set in Greece in 1965 evoked the wistful and sepia tinged prologue set on a ferry off Cape Cod during a Bauer family vacation in 1964 that began the twilit, allegorical and implicitly Spielberg addressing Howard film, SPLASH (1984), immediately implying that Besson was addressing Howard and SPLASH on one level in THE BIG BLUE. The first part of the prologue introduced us to the Franco-American boy, Jacques Mayol-played by Bruce Guerre-Berthelot. Significantly, this first part made clear that the boy Mayol was already a seasoned and confident diver who needed no adult supervision and could hold his breath and stay under water for long periods of time, unlike the boy Allan Bauer in SPLASH-played by David Kreps-who had to be rescued by an adult tourist when he dove off the ferry into the water looking for the young Madison the mergirl-played by Shayla MacKarvich. Indeed, young Mayol was at one with the undersea world, already accepted by its inhabitants so much that a moray eel eagerly came out of its cave at his approach in order to be fed by him. Clearly, in THE BIG BLUE, the boy was the merperson, not the girl, setting us up for the blonde human woman falling madly in love with the adult merman in a reversal of SPLASH.
The second part of the prologue introduced us to Mayol’s arch nemesis, Enzo Molinari-his first name an anagram for ‘Zone’, and played as a boy by Gregory Forstner-who fancied himself the better free diver. Significantly, the boy Enzo resembled the adult and implicitly Landis linked ‘Black Knight’ of the equally twilit and black and white LE DERNIER COMBAT, preparing us for the return of Reno as the adult Enzo and for more battles between implicit symbolic film artists to come. With one of those implicit symbolic film artists implicitly linked to Kubrick, for allusions to the presciently twilit, allegorical and implicitly David Cronenberg roasting Kubrick film, THE SHINING (1980), were seen in the first diving battle between the boy Mayol and the boy Molinari that Mayol curiously allowed Molinari to win.
Significantly, part three of the prologue was kicked off by the sight and sound of young Mayol waking up from a nightmare, which evoked the sight and sound of the implicitly Kubrick linked werewolf victim David Kessler-played by David Naughton-waking up from nightmares throughout the presciently twilit and allegorical Landis film, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981). This implication that Mayol was linked to Landis was reaffirmed by the death of the elder Mayol-played by Besson’s father, Claude-in a diving accident that ended the third part of the prologue. For the elder Mayol’s death reminded us that Landis lost his father when he was young. Thus, the implication was that Mayol was linked to Landis and Molinari was linked to Kubrick in THE BIG BLUE.
Indeed, this implication that Landis was linked to Mayol was reaffirmed after a full colour vignette in Sicily in 1988 reintroduced audiences to Reno’s older Enzo and made clear that he was still eager to beat the ‘little Frenchman’ in an important free dive. For after this vignette we then found ourselves at an American Diving Research Station in a tiny village called La Raya in the desolate Andean highlands of Peru that recalled the equally desolate northern English moorlands seen at the beginning of AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. The sight and sound of the beautiful, blonde and Madison evoking New York insurance agent, Johana Baker-played by Rosanna Arquette-meeting and falling madly in love with the adult Mayol merman-played by Jean-Marc Barr-who was astounding the American researcher Dr. Laurence-who resembled and was implicitly linked to Cronenberg, one of the few film artists who openly supported Landis after the TZ disaster, and was played by Paul Shenar-with long free dives in the freezing waters of an icebound Andean lake, aided by a naturally lowering heartbeat accompanied by a shift of blood to his brain usually more common with dolphins that implied that Mayol was indeed an unique and dolphin-like merman also affirmed the implication that Mayol was linked to Landis. For the surname of Johana Baker evoked Rick Baker, the make-up effects man on AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. Her boss back in New York also openly affirmed the implicit link of Landis and Mayol, for Duffy was played by Griffin Dunne, who played the unfortunate Jack Goodman, the first werewolf victim in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON.
Thus, Mayol’s film long diving duels with Enzo that climaxed with a 400 metre free dive that allowed him to triumph over Enzo implied the generous and sympathetic hope of Besson that Landis would be able to triumph over Kubrick and leave behind the Zone now that he and his four co-defendants had been found not guilty of manslaughter at the end of the TZ trial in 1987. And be embraced by wary audiences again like Mayol was finally embraced after the triumph over Enzo by the wary dolphins who watched over him from a safe but interested distance throughout the film, in the end. This ending also implied the hope of Besson that he and his Franco-American style of film art-symbolized by a bored and petulant Helena in her Mohawk hairdo in SUBWAY-would be finally accepted by equally watchful, suspicious and fickle audiences, allowing him to become not another all too human and mere fortune and glory lusting film artist but a heady and transcendent new Franco-American ‘Daulphin’ of world cinema-spelt in a way that fused the English word for dolphin with the French dauphin to emphasize that now a J.D. Master of both Anglophone and Francophone film art was Besson.
It was a hope that was realized, for THE BIG BLUE was a very moving and inspirational film and box office smash that propelled Besson into the top ranks of world film aritsts. Curiously, however, the Daulphin surprised audiences with a dramatic change of tone when he teamed up again with Anglade, Bouise, Reno, Serra, Marc Duret and Patrick Fontana-who played Enzo’s younger brothers, Roberto and Alfredo, respectively, in THE BIG BLUE-and producer Patrice Ledoux, editor Olivier Mauffroy and production designer Dan Weil-all also from THE BIG BLUE-and left behind the heady and mystic transcendence and oneness with the universal cinematic ocean and its fickle dolphin audiences of THE BIG BLUE for more dark and diseased depths to implicitly and indignantly roast Bigelow for creating the gleefully violent, twilit, allegorical and implicitly Lucas addressing docufeature indie film, NEAR DARK (1987), in the equally twilit, allegorical, violent, CGI free and Ozian themed allegorical indie docufeature film, LA FEMME NIKITA (1990).
‘My name’s ‘Cutie’!’
Indeed, the raging tornado of a shootout between a drugged up gang of Ozian themed youth-comprised of the implicitly Scarecrow linked Rico, the implicitly Bigelow and Dorothy/Wicked Witch of the West linked Nikita, the implicitly Cowardly Lion linked Antoine/Coyotte, the implicitly Tin Man linked and axe wielding Zap and their unconscious and implicitly Glinda linked female companion-played by Duret, Anne Parillaud, Patrick Fontana, Alain Lathiere and Laura Cheron, respectively-and the Parisienne police during a pharmacy robbery that kicked off the film immediately and implicitly affirmed that Besson was responding to NEAR DARK in LA FEMME NIKITA. For the violent shootout evoked an equally violent shootout between the outlaw vampire gang-comprised of the implicitly Kennedy linked Diamondback, the implicitly Marshall linked Jesse Hooker, the implicitly Spielberg linked Severen and the implicitly Joe Dante linked Homer-played by Jenette Goldstein, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton and Joshua Miller, respectively-and Kansas police officers midway through NEAR DARK. However, unlike their American colleagues in NEAR DARK, the Paris police won this shootout, killing Antoine/Coyotte, Rico and Zap.
Curiously, the lone survivor, Nikita, was arrested, convicted and banished to a Black Castle of a prison for the deaths of three police officers in the shootout. Here her death was faked, and she ‘died’ like all Wicked Witches of the East in order to open the gates to the healing elemental and Ozian dream. Indeed, the healing dream began when the lean, mean, and unapologetically violent Nikita was ‘reborn’ and given a chance to escape imprisonment and redeem herself as a femme fatale assassin and Good Wicked Witch of the West for a top secret French government agency. Interestingly, this government assassin training noticeably anticipated a future allegorical Besson film, for on the wall of her windowless cell of a room in the secret agency was a poster of HEAVY METAL contributor Richard Corben’s cover for the allegorical Meatloaf recording, BAT OUT OF HELL (1977).
Humourously, the lean, mean and violent Nikita was also patiently weaned off her rough and masculine ways and patiently transformed into a beautiful ‘real’ woman during her assassin training by the implicitly Great Oz linked Bob and the implicitly Glinda linked Amande-played by Tcheky Karyo and Jeanne Moreau, respectively-implying that the Daulphin did not approve of Bigelow’s violent and ‘masculine’ film art and hoped that she would leave it behind and make proper ‘feminine’ film art when she grew up and became a ‘real’ woman. In fact, given that Nikita fled her violent secret agent job after the last botched and unusually violent assignment saw Reno’s Victor-his name evoking Fleming and Morrow-being called in to clean up the mess and perhaps returned to Kansas, in the end, Besson even implied his hope that Bigelow would give up on film art and leave the Temple Theatre to ‘real’ masculine film artists.
An implicit message that was ignored by Bigelow, as the tall, calm, confident, commanding, fearless, creative, original and independent Bigelow fittingly and confidently proclaimed her determination to continue as a film artist the year of the release of LA FEMME NIKITA in the allegorical and implicitly Landis bashing Bigelow docufeature indie film, BLUE STEEL (1990). For the film saw the implicitly Cronenberg linked New York Police Department Officer-and Detective-Megan A. Turner-played by Jamie Lee Curtis-remaining in the NYPD at the end of the film despite the stress of her job and the misgivings of male officers, making it implicitly clear that Bigelow was committed to remaining in the ranks of elite film artists come hell or high water regardless of what her male colleagues or audiences thought about anything. Curiously, as if to implicitly affirm that Besson and Bigelow were operating on similar wavelengths in 1990, an overlooked gun that was used to kill featured prominently in BLUE STEEL and LA FEMME NIKITA.
At any rate, to make it implicitly clear that she had no intention of abandoning film art, Bigelow followed BLUE STEEL with her most determined film to date, the allegorical and implicitly Lucas and Lynch addressing indie artbuster, POINT BREAK (1991), a film that the Daulphin also implicitly replied to when he collaborated again with his father, Ledoux, Reno, Serra, Weil and LA FEMME NIKITA director of photography Thierry Arbogast on the twilit, Ozian themed, CGI free and allegorical indie docufeature film, LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL (1994).
‘You saved my life, so you must have saved it for a good reason.’
Significantly, the film began with the camera flying over water and then Central Park, evoked the driving over pavement beginning of LA FEMME NIKITA and the flying over water beginning of THE BIG BLUE. Intriguingly, flying over the trees of Central Park also evoked the flying over the forests and mountains of northern Oregon beginning of THE SHINING, implying that Besson was addressing Kubrick in the film. Indeed, this implication was reaffirmed when the camera drove through the streets of New York City to a Little Italy neighborhood and an Italian restaurant named Guido’s. For here Reno’s film art, milk luvin’ and implicitly Kubrick linked lone hitman for hire, Leon McGuffin, met in a back room about a job with Tony-his name evoking Tony, the imaginary friend of Danny Torrance (played by Danny Lloyd) in THE SHINING, and played by Danny Aiello-a scene that evoked the sight and sound of the replicant Leon Kowalski-played by Brion James-being interviewed by a Blade Runner named Dave Holden-played by Morgan Paull-at the beginning of BLADE RUNNER. Significantly, Tony sent McGuffin out on a mission to make the implicitly Coppola linked Mr. Jones-played by Frank Senger-an offer he couldn’t refuse. McGuffin not only did just that, but also took out all of the bodyguards of Mr. Jones in a way that evoked the sight of Reno’s Victor arriving like a replacement director to try to set Nikita’s final mission straight at the end of LA FEMME NIKITA, neatly linking both films together.
Curiously, after this bloody beginning, McGuffin then spent the rest of the film protecting the young and implicitly Dorothy linked Mathilda Lando-played by Natalie Portman-and hiding her from Evil DEA Agents like the white dress shirt favouring and hence implicitly Lynch linked Stansfield and Willy Blood-played by Gary Oldman and Willy One Blood, respectively-who were out to kill her as she had witnessed them mercilessly gun down her implicitly Lucas linked drug dealing middleman father, Mr. Lando-played by Michael Badalucco-and her mother, sister and brother-played by Ellen Greene, Elizabeth Regen and Carl J. Matusovich, respectively. McGuffin also taught Mathilda the basics of being a sniper, a scene that evoked the mad sniper, Leonard ‘Gomer Pyle’ Lawrence-played by Vincent D’Onofrio-in the twilit and allegorical Kubrick film, FULL METAL JACKET (1987), reaffirming the implicit link of McGuffin to Kubrick. As Mathilda was not just the daughter but the creation of a father implicitly linked to Lucas, she was implicitly linked to and, indeed, implicitly symbolized the film art of Lucas. Thus, as Mathilda also lived to fight another day, in the end, due to the fact that before he died, lone gunslinger McGuffin hunted down and killed Blood and Stansfield in the neo-Western end, Besson implicitly hoped that Lucas and his film art would also live to fight another day. Indeed, Besson implicitly hoped that Lucas would succeed again with a fresh new CGI enhanced film that was as fresh as new as sweet l’il Mathilda. This implication was reaffirmed by the sight of Mathilda safely ensconced with Betty Miller’s Margaret Hamilton evoking headmistress, Marguerite McCallister, at the Spencer School in Wildwood, New Jersey at the end of the film, for the name of the school for troubled girls evoked Spencer Tracey and film art.
Significantly, Besson reaffirmed this implicit hope and implicitly helped inspire Lucas to kick off a new era of CGI enhanced film art when he teamed up again with Arbogast, Ledoux, Oldman, Serra and Weil to rise again to the heady depths and heights of THE BIG BLUE and to prove in their first big and CGI enhanced film that they had the heavy mettle indeed to give the world a one way ticket out of the twilight so as to implicitly help return a scintillating new Skyrocking spirit to the Temple Theatre-and one even more daylit, hopeful, exuberant and CGI enhanced than ever before, in the twentieth anniversary year of the release of STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE to reboot-with the wholly remarkable, truly fantastic, Ozian themed and CGI enhanced allegorical indie film, THE FIFTH ELEMENT (1997).
Curiously, the film began hurtling through space and over asteroids, evoking the flying over water beginning of THE BIG BLUE, the hurtling over pavement beginning of LA FEMME NIKITA, and the flying over water and Central Park beginning of LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL, immediately linking THE FIFTH ELEMENT to those films. Perhaps hurtling towards Earth, for the scene soon shifted to a biomechanical Mondoshowan spaceship arriving in orbit over Earth. From orbit, we fell down to an Egyptian Temple Theatre in 1914, evoking the Well of Souls and the Temple holding the Lost Ark of the Covenant in the Lucas executive produced and allegorical Spielberg film, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981), linking the beginning of THE FIFTH ELEMENT to the Last Good Year of film before the TZ disaster. A Lucas lookalike Egyptian boy named Aziz-played by Said Talidi-helping John Bluthal’s Peter Ustinov evoking Professor Pacoli illuminate the meaning of some mysterious hieroglyphics on one of the inner temple walls also immediately reaffirmed that Besson was addressing Lucas yet again in THE FIFTH ELEMENT. Pacoli’s translation of the mysterious hieroglyphics-‘...when the three planets are in eclipse, a black hole like a door is opened, Evil comes, spreading terror and chaos...’-was also important, for the interpretation reminded us of the three victims of the TZ disaster, and that Evil, chaos and anger had been gripping audiences and Temple Theatres since the disaster. Significantly, this mysterious inscription also evoked a similar mysterious and prophetic inscription on a wall in the allegorical Jim Henson and Frank Oz film, THE DARK CRYSTAL (1982), an inscription that prophesied that ‘…when single shines the triple sun, what was sundered and undone shall be whole’, openly linking THE FIFTH ELEMENT to the twilit and disastrous year of 1982.
Of course, Pacoli’s translation also evoked ‘...a shadow shall fall over the universe, and Evil will grow in its path, and death will come from the skies’, the eerily prescient opening voiceover-by Percy Rodrigues?-that ominously anticipated the TZ disaster that was heard at the beginning of the allegorical Reitman executive produced and Gerald Potterton hand-animated film, HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE (1981). The voiceover prepared audiences for the arrival of the carnol and blockbuster mayhem obsessed Loc-nar, a dread and insidious ball of gloating Evil discovered in another desert by another professor at the beginning of HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE, thus preparing audiences for the arrival of another insidious ball of Evil in THE FIFTH ELEMENT. This link reminded us that HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE was based on an American adult sly fi/fantasy magazine called HEAVY METAL, that was in turn a mostly translated edition of the original French adult sly fi/fantasy magazine, METAL HURLANT. Thus, the link of THE FIFTH ELEMENT to HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE implicitly reaffirmed that Besson was obsessing over the events of the early Eighties in THE FIFTH ELEMENT and reminding audiences that HEAVY METAL started off as METAL HURLANT, s’il vous plait. The link to HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE also prepared viewers for the HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE inspired hijinks to come, including the speedy arrival of another ball of insidious Evil to rival the dread and carnol Loc-nar-and a new legendary heroine and cynical taxi driver to defeat the new ball of Evil. Indeed, Besson underlined the link of THE FIFTH ELEMENT to METAL HURLANT, HEAVY METAL, and HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE by having legendary METAL HURLANT/HEAVY METAL artist/writer and uncredited HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE contributor Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud help with the design of THE FIFTH ELEMENT.
The mysterious hieroglyphics translated by Professor Pacoli also mentioned the existence of a being-a Fifth Element?-that would be centred between the four elements every five thousand years so as to destroy Evil, preparing us for the arrival of the embodied Fifth Element. The existence of this Fifth Elemental being was quickly confirmed by the arrival at the temple of the biomechanical and extraterrestrial Mondoshowans, their name linking them to world cinema. Significantly, the arrival of the Mondoshowans was heralded by John Bennett’s temple Priest with the words ‘...they’re here!’, the most famous line of the Spielberg co-produced and co-written Tobe Hooper allegorical film, POLTERGEIST (1982), openly affirming the implicit link of the film to 1982. The Mondoshowans reaffirmed their link to the fantastic films of the Seventies and Eighties, for their huge biomechanical bodies evoked the equally huge H.R. Giger designed biomechanical and Wicked Alien of the West in Sir Scott’s allegorical, blockbuster beast bashing and Ozian themed film, ALIEN (1979), and the alien hordes in ALIENS. The brown, blocky bodies and shambling, side to side gait of the Mondoshowans also evoked E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL, reaffirming the film’s interest in Spielberg and the twilit and disastrous events of 1982.
Indeed, one of the Mondoshowans soon opened a secret door in the wall of the temple with the mysterious hierogylphics with a key hidden in its right forefinger, a right forefinger that evoked the healing right forefinger of E.T. The opening of the secret door revealed a hidden chamber containing the four elements, which were boxed up and taken by the Mondoshowans with a promise that they would be returned for use in three hundred years when they would be needed by the embodied Fifth Element to combat and defeat Evil in the 23rd century, a fitting choice of century as it evoked the 23rd day of July of 1982 of the TZ disaster. The departure of the Mondoshowans with the stones-stones that recalled the equally legendary Sankara stones of INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM-and the embodied statue of the Fifth Element also evoked E.T., THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL For, like E.T., one Mondoshowan was accidentally trapped and left behind in the hidden chamber when the secret door closed by mistake, leaving only the Mondoshowan’s finger to stick out and give up its right forefinger key to the temple Priest who promised to pass it on to other priests so as to be ready to reopen the hidden chamber when returned did the embodied Fifth Element. The camera then focussed on a part of the mysterious hieroglyphics that saw an intersection of circles and triangles that symbolized the twilit eclipse of the three planets and directors.
Suddenly, the hieroglyphics turned into a similar digital graphic on a television screen that was monitoring something circular, a primitive graphic that recalled the similarly primitive CGI seen throughout the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy and the allegorical Steven Lisberger film, TRON (1982), reiterating the implicit film’s interest in Lucas and the twilit and disastrous events of 1982. Shifting to a point of view (POV) in deep space outside a Star Destroyer-like spaceship-the one presumably containing the computer monitors that we had just been looking at-an intertitle told us that we were now three hundred years in the future in the twenty-third century that the Mondoshowans promised would see the coming of an Evil so insidious that it would necessitate the arrival of the promised and legendary Fifth Element and the return of the stones containing the four elements so as to combat and defeat that Evil. On cue, we noticed that the neo-Star Destroyer was moving in on and monitoring a sinister ball of pure CGI enhanced Evil floating in space like a huge CGI Loc-nar.
The allusion to the carnol Loc-nar reminded us that the insidious and malicious green floating ball was defeated in the end by the pure and legendary heroine Taarna, the literal embodiment of hand-animated film art, who was summoned from the realm of legend to a distant planet to free it from the Evil grip of the carnol Loc-nar in the concluding ‘Taarna’ episode of HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE. This ending had implied that Potterton and Reitman wanted to free New Hollywood filmmakers from the equally carnal, commercial and blockbuster lusts that began taking over New Hollywood film in the late Seventies and early Eighties, so as to keep film art on the heady and artistic path that it had embraced in the late Sixties and early Seventies. Thus, by bringing the Loc-nar back from the dead, Besson implicitly affirmed that he was on a similar quest in THE FIFTH ELEMENT to warn filmmakers away from creating artless, mindless and money obsessed CGI enhanced blockbusters in the new digital age with a higher minded and CGI enhanced allegorical film with a new legendary heroine who was the embodiment of CGI enhanced film art.
Significantly, Besson also implied that he wanted Lucas and not himself to return and lead the CGI enhanced film art charge into the new millennium. For just as the neo-Locnar ball of Evil engulfed the neo-Star Destroyer with its Evil essence-evoking the sight and sound of V’ger engulfing a Federation starship at the beginning of the allegorical Robert Wise telefilm, STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE (1979), in another link of the THE FIFTH ELEMENT to the films of the Seventies and Eighties-a jumpcut introduced the implicitly Fire and Cowardly Lion linked Korben Dallas-played by Bruce Willis-waking up from a terrible nightmare at two in the early morning of March 18, 2263 in his tiny apartment in the South Brooklyn of in the future Emerald City of New York. Here we soon discovered that Dallas was not just a flying taxi driver who evoked the world weary and Richard Romanus voiced New York flying taxi driver Harry Canyon in the ‘Harry Canyon’ episode of HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE. We also discovered that Dallas was an ex-Major and space fighter pilot in the planetary space force and brooding bachelor whose wife had run off with his lawyer, reminding us that at this point in time Lucas was an ex-Jedi film artist and brooding bachelor whose wife had run off with a stain glass artisan who had helped create his private Skywalker Ranch film facility outside San Francisco, implicitly linking Dallas to Lucas. Indeed, the surname of Dallas reminded us of the implicitly Lucas linked Captain Dallas-played by Tom Skerritt-in ALIEN, affirming the implicit link of Dallas to Lucas. His first name, Korben, implicitly affirmed his link to an American film artist, for it recalled the surname of American Grand Master Richard Corben, whose work at the time and to this day was fittingly featured in HEAVY METAL and HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE.
Curiously, soon after making his lonely and miserable appearance, Dallas was desperately trying to save CGI enhanced film art in the symbolic form of Milla Jovovich’s implicitly Dorothy linked Leeloominai-aka Leeloo-and the world from being consumed by the neo-Locnar. For Leeloo arrived on the scene in 23rd century New York after being recreated in humanoid form in an elaborate CGI sequence in a Nucleolab from her right hand, all that remained of her body after the destruction of her spaceship on the way to Earth by gleefully destructive alien warriors called Mangalores-who evoked the equally destructive gremlins of the Kennedy, Marshall and Spielberg executive produced and allegorical Dante film, GREMLINS (1984). Thus, this CGI reconstruction literally made her the embodiment of CGI enhanced film art. And the film’s Taarna, for like Taarna, Leeloo was also a legendary extraterrestrial heroine-fittingly, the Fifth Element, of the Mondoshowan world cinema race-come to rescue a new distant planet and free it from Evil. On top of also being linked to Dorothy and Carrie Fisher’s implicitly Dorothy linked Princess Leia Organna in the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy, Leeloo’s red hair, youth and beauty evoked the equally young and beautiful red haired damsel in distress voiced by Susan Roman in the ‘Harry Canyon’ segment of HEAVY METAL: THE MOVIE, and the equally indomitable E. Johnson of CHERRY 2000. In addition, her initial inability to talk evoked the initial inability to talk of the implicitly Dorothy linked Madison the mermaid in SPLASH, while her love of scanty clothing evoked Jane Fonda’s implicitly Dorothy linked Barbarella in the allegorical, Ozian themed and satirical Vadim film, BARBARELLA (1968).
Soon after she was digitally recreated, Leeloo fell into the back seat of the flying taxi cab of Dallas when she escaped from the Nucleolab by throwing herself off a ledge on the side of the building. This fall reaffirmed the implicit link of Dallas to Lucas, for it reminded us that a patient-Kathleen Wilhoite‘s Michelle-threw herself out of the window of the New York skyscraper office of the implicitly Lucas linked psychiatrist, Doctor William ‘Bill’ Capa-also played by Willis-at the beginning of the allegorical and implicitly Lynch roasting Richard Rush film, COLOR OF NIGHT (1994). Deciding to help Leeloo, Dallas managed to escape the bumbling and pursuing police in their flying cars, their tragicomic exploits recalling the equally bumbling robot police officers of the allegorical Lucas film, THX 1138 (1971), and the equally bumbling Modesto police officers of the allegorical Lucas film, AMERICAN GRAFITTI (1973), in two more nods to Lucas that reaffirmed the implicit Lucas addressing intent of THE FIFTH ELEMENT. Then Dallas and Leeloo set off on a madcap and tragicomic quest to find and retrieve the four stones containing the power of the four elements, so as to take them back to the hidden chamber in the Egyptian Temple Theatre in order to channel the power of the four elements and use it to destroy the carnol neo-Loc-nar before its insidious and all consuming Evil could engulf Earth.
This desperate quest was aided by the arrival of three more helpful companions who were openly linked to the rest of the four elements and to Dorothy’s three other helpful companions in THE WIZARD OF OZ. Significantly, the link of Leeloo’s four companions to the four elements finally and openly confirmed for the first time that the four helpful companions of Dorothy had always been linked to the four elements, going back to the allegorical L. Frank Baum children’s story, The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz (1900). This elemental Ozian foursome were the implicitly Earth and Scarecrow linked priest, David-played by Charlie Creed-Miles; the implicitly Fire and Cowardly Lion linked Dallas; the garrulous, intergalactic Wolfman Jack evoking and implicitly Air and Great Oz linked Radio Cosmos DJ, Ruby Rhod-played by Chris Tucker; and the old, Ben Obi Wan Kenobi evoking and implicitly Water and Tin Man linked Father Vito Cornelius-played by Ian Holm, who evoked Jedi Knight Ben Obi Wan Kenobi-played by Alec Guiness-in the STAR WARS Classic Trilogy, and who openly linked the film to ALIEN via his role as Ash the android in that film.
Significantly, the involvement of Dallas in the adventure was ensured by the implicitly Cameron linked General Munro-played by James, who linked the film openly to the twilit and disastrous summer of ’82 via his role as Leon in BLADE RUNNER, and to CHERRY 2000 via his bit part as a small time post-apocalyptic scoundrel named Stacy in that film. Indeed, the General was able to persuade Dallas, the despondent ex-Major in the Space Corps, to agree to help Leeloo save the world, in a way that reminded us that another ex-Major in the Space Corps named Wolff-played by Peter Strauss-was also persuaded to undertake a hazardous mission, aided by another attractive young redhead, this one named Niki rather than Leeloo-played by Molly Ringwald-to rescue a twilit trio of beautiful space tourists trapped on planet Terra XI-and hence help viewers triumph over the TZ disaster and its three victims-in the twilit and allegorical Lamont Johnson film, SPACEHUNTER: ADVENTURES IN THE FORBIDDEN ZONE (1983). Indeed, the tourista trio’s link to the TZ disaster was confirmed by the fact that one was named Reena-played by Aleisa Shirley-evoking Renee Chen, the girl killed in the TZ disaster.
Along the Yellow Brick way, Leeloo and the Fab Four blasted off to the space cruise ship that orbited the vacation planet of Fhloston Paradise like Jabba’s sail barge to retrieve the four elemental stones from Maiwenn’s implicitly Glinda the Good linked space opera singer, Diva Plavalaguna, before they were taken by the mayhem and destruction loving Mangalores. The fact that the stones were inside the Diva were important, as it reminded us that with an Earthy body, a Fiery heart, a brain floating in the skull’s Watery cerebrospinal fluid, and an Airy soul, all of us were fusions of the four elements and Fifth Elemental beings, as much as Leeloo. The fact that Diva Plavalaguna the Good was also a blue skinned being who looked like a cross between the alien of ALIEN, the Mike Quinn performed Sy Snootles of STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI, a human and a dolphin evoked THE BIG BLUE and Mayol’s acceptance by the wary and suspicious dolphin audience members, in the end. The elemental and Ozian foursome and the embodied Fifth Element also desperately fought off Oldman’s implicitly Landis, Marshall and Spielberg linked ubercorporate Evildoer, Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, a human baddie so obsessed with a Zorgy of alienating and inhuman corporate profits that he foolishly collaborated not only with the Mangalores, but also with the neo-Loc-nar, implicitly reaffirming that Besson was warning film artists in THE FIFTH ELEMENT not to become too obsessed with the Evil blockbuster profits for fear of losing sight of the higher nature of film art in the CGI enhanced era and causing any more fatal film set disasters.
After defeating the Mangalores, and after the foolish and greedy Zorg killed himself in the explosion of his own blockbuster bomb, the Ozian heroes brought the film full healing and harmonizing circle by bringing the four elemental stones back to the hidden chamber in the Egyptian Temple Theatre seen in the prologue of the film. Here the four elemental stones were placed and activated in their four separate stone pillars by the character that embodied that element, and then Leeloo and Dallas, standing on a platform between them, declared their love for each other, an exultant crazy love that turned out to be what was needed for the CGI enhanced lightsaber evoking fource of the four elements to pour into Leeloo and be channelled into the atmosphere above Earth, allowing Good CGI to stop the insidious, blockbuster lusting and carnol neo-Loc-nar in its Evil CGI path before it engulfed Earth, in a blast of awe inspiring and liberating power that evoked the end of THE DARK CRYSTAL and the power that exploded out of the Ark of the Covenant at the end of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, the Last Good Year of film art.
Thus, given that Dallas and Leeloo were implicitly linked to Lucas and his film art throughout THE FIFTH ELEMENT, Besson implied his hope that Lucas would soon return to the Temple Theatre with a truly fantastic CGI enhanced film that cleansed the universe, brought harmony back to audiences and the Temple Theatre and kicked off a Skryocking new era of TZ disaster free CGI enhanced film art. Indeed, the film’s final scene reaffirmed this implicit new hope. For THE FIFTH ELEMENT ended with Dallas and Leeloo a loving couple back in the Nucleolab chamber where Leeloo was recreated in humanoid form, closing lovemaking that evoked similar ambiguous and androgenous love scenes between LUH 3417 and THX 1138-played by Maggie McOmie and Robert Duvall, respectively-in THX 1138. Significantly, this new hope that Lucas would return to cleanse the universe was not uncommon at the time, for Bigelow and Cameron, Tim Burton and Sir Scott implied the same hope in their twilit and allegorical films, STRANGE DAYS (1995)-which also implicitly roasted Besson in the form of Tom Sizemore’s Max Peltier-MARS ATTACKS! (1996) and G. I. JANE (1997). A brave new and TZ disaster free era of CGI enhanced film art that Besson would be a significant part of, as THE FIFTH ELEMENT was a truly fantastic and wholly remarkable film that amply affirmed that Besson was now indeed the Daulphin of world film art.
Significantly, and perhaps inspired by the two occasions when the determined and indomitable SEAL trainee, Lt. Jordan O’Neil-played by Demi Moore-was sarcastically compared to Joan of Arc in G. I. JANE, Besson exchanged a legendary extraterrestrial heroine for a legendary human heroine when he teamed up again with Arbogast, Jovovich, Karyo, Ledoux and Serra to implicitly reply to STRANGE DAYS in his next twilit, CGI enhanced and allegorical docufeature indie film, THE MESSENGER (1999).
‘If you love me, follow me!...
Indeed, the opening English attack on the village of the young Joan of Arc-played by Jane Valentine-did not just evoke the opening attack on the Cimmerian village of the young Conan-played by Jorge Sanz-by the Dark Forces of the implicitly Lucas linked Thulsa Doom-played by James E. Jones-at the beginning of the allegorical and implicitly Lucas roasting John Milius film, CONAN THE BARBARIAN (1982), linking THE MESSENGER to the year of the TZ disaster. For the murderous rape of Joan’s sister, Catherine-played by Framboise Commendy-evoked the murderous rape of Iris-played by Brigitte Bako-by Peltier captured on SQUID playback in STRANGE DAYS-as well as the murderous rape of the implicitly Sofia Coppola linked Shelly Webster-played by Sofia Sania-partly seen by Brandon Lee’s implicitly Bigelow linked Eric Draven in twilit and allegorical Alex Proyas film, THE CROW (1994). Thus, Besson immediately and implicitly affirmed that he was roasting Bigelow again as in LA FEMME NIKITA in THE MESSENGER. Indeed, the appearance of Karyo as Dunois implied as such, reminding us that Karyo had played Nikita’s mentor, Bob, at the secret French government agency in LA FEMME NIKITA.
The implication that the film was addressing Bigelow was implicitly affirmed by the scene in a crowded castle chamber in Chinon that quickly followed the opening battle that introduced Charles VII-played by John Malkovich-and saw him nervously awaiting the arrival of the older and visionary Joan-played by Jovovich-while wearing a Fremen stillsuit-like coat. For the scene evoked the similarly crowded scene inside the throne room of the Imperial palace at Kaitain at the beginning of DUNE that saw Jose Ferrer’s Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV awaiting with equal trepidation the arrival of a Third Stage Spacing Guild Navigator, implicitly linking Charles VII to Lynch, who had been implicitly roasted by Bigelow in such twilit and allegorical films as THE LOVELESS (1982)-which was co-written and co-directed by Lafayette ‘Monty’ Montgomery-and POINT BREAK (1991). The resemblance of the mother-in-law and adviser of Charles VII, Yolande of Aragon-played by Faye Dunaway-to the Bene Gesserit adviser to Emperor Shaddam IV, Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam-played by Sian Phillips–reaffirmed the film’s link to DUNE and the implicit link of Charles VII to Lynch. Thus, with the burning of Joan at the stake for her dubious ‘sins’, Bigelow implicitly burned for her sins of implicitly roasting Besson and Lynch in her film art, in the end.
Significantly, Besson ignored Darren Aronofsky’s sarcastic roast of THE FIFTH ELEMENT in his allegorical film, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM (2000), and Sir Scott’s roast of Besson in the implicit form of Commendatore Rinaldo Pazzi-played by Giancarlo Giannini-of the Questura Di Firenze in his twilit and allegorical film, HANNIBAL (2001), and implicitly concentrated on Lucas again when he finally returned to theatres with Arbogast and Serra in his next twilit, Ozian themed, CGI enhanced and allegorical indie film, ARTHUR AND THE INVISIBLES (2006).
‘Your heart is your strongest weapon.’
Curiously, a brief prologue introduced us to Arthur and his grandmother-played by Freddie Highmore and Mia Farrow, respectively, the latter linked forever to the year of the release of TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE by her role as Dr. Eudora Nesbitt Fletcher in Woody Allen’s Landis blasting and brutally satirical allegorical masterpiece, ZELIG (1983)-and their desperate quest to find enough money in forty-eight hours to pay off Adam Lefevre’s vaguely Spielberg-like and money obsessed Davido and save the house and land of missing husband and grandfather, Archibald-who resembled an older Jolivet, and was played by Rob Crawford. The rest of the film then followed Arthur’s adventures in an Oz-like CGI wonderland filled with dimunitive and pixie-like Minoys caught in the twilit grip of the gleefully insidious and David Bowie voiced Maltazard the Evil, an evil character implicitly linked to Lucas as Bowie played the similarly insidious goblin king, Jareth, in the twilit, allegorical and Lucas executive produced Jim Henson film, LABYRINTH (1986), and by the fact that he looked a Neimoidian from the new STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy. Given that Arthur freed the Minoys from Maltazard’s twilit and Lucas linked grip, liberated Archibald from a jail in Maltazard’s Necropolis and returned with Archibald back to reality with a fortune in red rubies that evoked the ruby red slippers from THE WIZARD OF OZ that were just what were needed to pay off the money obsessed Davido and save the house and farm, Besson again implied that film art in general and his film art in particular would survive and triumph over the CGI menace of Lucas and his new STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy.
Indeed, by using CGI to literally transform Arthur into Art, a dimunitive CGI Minoy avatar, during his triumphant time in the land of the Minoys, Besson openly reaffirmed that his CGI enhanced film art for CGI enhanced film art’s sake would triumph over Lucas and anyone else like THE FIFTH ELEMENT had to reaffirm that he was indeed the Daulphin, in the defiant end. An commitment to the triumph of CGI enhanced film art for CGI enhanced film art’s sake over Lucas and other more commercially oriented film artists that implicitly continued when Besson returned with Arbogast and Serra in his next allegorical and indie docufeature film, THE LADY (2011).
‘The fight goes on.’
Significantly, in many ways THE LADY was a fused sequel to THE FIFTH ELEMENT that explored the life of Korben and Leeloo after they saved the world, got married and struggled to deal with day to day married life, with a dash of THE MESSENGER thrown in for Good measure. For the Lynch resembling Dr. Michael Aris and Aung San Suu Kyi-played by David Thewlis and Michelle Yeoh, respectively-were forced to leave behind their quiet life in Oxford, England and travel like Leeloo to another world, the world of Burma, to save it and its people from the twilit and insidious grip of the Burmese military and its gleefully destructive and malicious human Mangalore soldiers. Here in Burma, Suu Kyi, the native Burmese and daughter of a respected and assassinated ex-leader of Burma as well as a modest and unassuming Oxford housewife, inspired her people to break free from military oppression and establish democracy in Burma like the simple and illiterate Joan inspired her people to defeat and break free from English military oppression. Significantly, unlike Joan of Arc, Suu Kyi was not foolishly killed by her people, in the end. Instead, it was Aris that died, of prostrate cancer, in the end. However, despite the loss of her English soul mate from another world, Suu Kyi remained in Burma, just as committed to freeing her people from tyranny as ever, and eventually succeeded. As Aris evoked Lynch and Suu Kyi evoked Joan and Leeloo, Besson implied that he was rallying to the defense of Lynch again, probably for the roasting Lynch received for his allegorical film, INLAND EMPIRE (2006), and assuring Lynch that his film art for film art’s sake moving paintings would triumph over, and still be remembered, long after more commercial film artists like Lucas and Spielberg had been forgotten. Indeed, allusions to INLAND EMPIRE affirmed the implicit intent of THE LADY.
Curiously, Besson then exchanged a peace loving family of four for a violence loving family of four when he rejoined Arobgast to implicitly roast the Cronenberg family in the twilit, allegorical, CGI enhanced and darkly humourous indie docufeature film, THE FAMILY (2013), with a soundtrack by Evgueni and Sacha Galperine this time instead of Serra.
‘Who the hell asked you to be popular?’
Indeed, the matter of factly violent Manzoni family-comprised of Giovanni, Maggie, Belle and Warren, played by Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dianna Agron and John D’Leo, respectively-an American mafia family on the run from the mob and in witness protection hiding in France, was implicitly linked to the cinematic violence loving family of David, Carolyn, Caitlin and Brandon Cronenberg throughout the film. Indeed, the fact that the mob family that was after the Manzonis was led by the William S. Burroughs resembling and implicitly linked Don Luchese-played by Stan Carp-affirmed the film’s implicit Cronenberg addressing intent, for it reminded us that the twilit, allegorical and implicitly Lynch roasting Cronenberg film, NAKED LUNCH (1991), was based on the gleefully obscene and allegorical Burroughs compilation, Naked Lunch (1959). The film’s allusions to the twilit and allegorical Cronenberg films, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE (2005) and EASTERN PROMISES (2007) reaffirmed the implicit Cronenberg addressing intent of THE FAMILY.
That same year Besson became another target himself when he was implicitly roasted in the form of Peter ‘Star Lord’ Quill-played by Chris Pratt-in the allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical James Gunn film, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014), an implicit intent affirmed by the film’s allusions to LA FEMME NIKITA and THE FIFTH ELEMENT. Then Besson teamed up again with Arbogast, Serra, THE FAMILY costume designer Olivier Beriot, new producer and wife Virginie Besson-Silla, and editor Julien Rey and production designer Hughes Tissandier-both from THE FAMILY-to return to the heady heights of THE BIG BLUE, THE FIFTH ELEMENT, THE MESSENGER and THE LADY and implicitly address Cronenberg again in his next twilit, CGI enhanced and allegorical docufeature indie film, LUCY (2014).
‘Ignorance breeds chaos, not knowledge.
I’ll build a computer,
and download all my knowledge.’
Indeed, LUCY and its eponymous heroine, Lucy-played by Scarlet Johannson-were implicitly linked to Toronto and its film artists and film art right at the Taipei beginning of the film, with Taipei shot in a way to evoke Toronto, and Pilou Asbaek’s Richard, her cowboy hat wearing ‘friend’, evoking Toronto based film artist, Bruce McDonald. Unfortunately for Lucy, Richard took advantage of her naivety to get her turned into a drug mule for the extrasensory ability enhancing drug, CPH4. Significantly, the drug was initially stored in a briefcase in four neon blue plastic packages, a briefcase opened with the three number combination 140. This evoked the case that held the four elements in THE FIFTH ELEMENT, preparing audiences for Lucy to be transformed from a normal and implicit Canuck into an indomitable fusion of Leeloo and Nikita when one of the drug packages sewn inside her stomach began to leak and evolved her, giving her extrasensory powers and the hyper-intuition that allowed her to fight off the gang members of the sad eyed, scruffy and unsmiling Taipei drug gang leader, Mr. Jang-played by Choi Min-Sik-who was implicitly linked to Sir Scott by the film’s many allusions to the allegorical Sir Scott films, BLACK RAIN (1989) and THE COUNSELOR (2013), and the allegorical Sir Scott and Tony Scott executive produced Kevin Macdonald film, LIFE IN A DAY (2010).
Significantly, the allusions to THE COUNSELOR not only reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in Toronto film art and film artists, but also implied an interest in Toronto film ‘scholars’. For THE COUNSELOR was a cynical film that implicitly warned the poor ol’ Gardevil that he was as naïve and foolish to get involved with Hollywood and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) as Michael Fassbender’s eponymous and implicitly Wright linked Counselor was to get involved with a Colombian drug cartel and the malignant and implicitly TIFF linked Malkina-her name meaning ‘bad kino’, and played by Cameron Diaz. Thus, as Lucy’s initial naivety evoked the initial naivety of the Counselor, the implication was that Lucy was implicitly linked to Wright like the Counselor, implicitly linking little ol’ me to the film long battle with Mr. Jang and his Jangsters for possession of the four packages of CPH4-a battle that evoked Leeloo’s battle with Zorg and the Mangalores for the four elements in THE FIFTH ELEMENT.
Curiously, the embattled Gacy was helped along in her fight by Morgan Freeman’s implicitly Cronenberg linked Doctor Samuel Norman, the American lecturer in neuroscience and evolution at a Paris university, reaffirming the film’s implicit interest in Toronto film art, film artists and film ‘scholars’. Indeed, Norman’s implicit link to Cronenberg was affirmed by his wistful obsession with evolved human beings capable of astounding feats of extrasensory powers, for his wistful obsession evoked the interest in equally evolved, extrasensory and ‘omnisexual’ humans of the films of Cronenberg, particularly the ‘super scanner’ Cameron Vale-played by Stephen Lack-who was mentored by the Norman evoking Dr. Paul Ruth-played by Patrick McGoohan-in the eerily and presciently twilit and allegorical Cronenberg film, SCANNERS (1980). In fact, CPH4 evoked the scanner inducing drug ephemerol-implicitly linked to the ephemeral fortune and glory lusted after by lesser film artists-in SCANNERS, affirming the implicit interest in that film in LUCY. Lucy’s ability to see into the past and future of other people as the film wore on, particularly when she touched them, reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in Cronenberg, for it recalled similar abilities developed by the implicitly Lynch linked John Smith-played by Christoper Walken-after a car accident in the twilit and allegorical Cronenberg film, THE DEAD ZONE (1983).
The ending of LUCY reaffirmed the implicit interest in Cronenberg , for the sight and sound of Lucy becoming more human than human when she reached her 100% evolved potential with the intravenous help of all four of the elemental bags of CPH4 jacked into her system at once-leaving her centred between them like Leeloo centred between the four elements at the end of THE FIFTH ELEMENT-and triumphing over Mr. Jang evoked the triumph of Vale over Michael Ironside’s implicitly Nicholas Meyer linked Darryl Revok at the equally extrasensory end of SCANNERS-as well as the ending of the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Kimberly Peirce film, CARRIE (2013), which saw Chloe G. Moretz’s implicitly Wright linked Carrie White wiping out antagonists implicitly linked to Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman with her extrasensory and CGI enhanced powers. The sight and sound of Lucy downloading all of her insights onto a USB key that could be used to upload all of her insights onto the internet, in the triumphant end, also reaffirmed her implicit link to the poor ol’ Gardevil, as it evoked the ‘insights’ into the fiction and film art of the dread allegorical Zone Wars that I regularly uploaded onto the internet. As the triumph over Mr. Jang and his Jangalores was accomplished with the help of CGI, Lucy, like Leeloo, also symbolized the brave new world of CGI enhanced film art. A brave new world of CGI enhanced film art that Besson was now more confident would succeed, given that Lucy, unlike Leeloo, did not need anyone’s help to defeat Mr. Jang and his Jangalores.
Curiously, this implicit interest in Toronto, its film art, film artists, film ‘scholars’ and the tragicomic subgenre of the dread allegorical Zone Wars derisively and reluctantly referred to as ‘Cinema Garite’ implicitly continued when Besson returned with Arbogast, Beriot, Besson-Silla, Rey and Tissandier-and with visual effects again by ILM, who had provided them for LUCY, and a soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat-to prove that he had the heavy mettle to top THE FIFTH ELEMENT in its twentieth anniversary year and implicitly affirm that the brave new world of heady, enlightened, liberated and CGI enhanced film art hoped for at the end of LUCY had arrived in the fully digital, CGI enhanced and truly higher minded and fantastic allegorical indie film, VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS (2017), inspired by the narrative artwork created by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres.
‘Our daughter made a good choice.’
Indeed, an implicit link to Ontario, and, hence, Toronto and its film art and artists was immediately made in the prologue of VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS. For as the Alpha space station-city was created in orbit above Earth over the decades with the help of terrestrials and extraterrestrials and the credits rolled, played was the allegorical David Bowie song, ‘Space Oddity’ (1969). The song reminded us that Ontario born and raised Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield famously filmed a strange music video of himself strumming the guitar and singing ‘Space Oddity’ on his last trip to the International Space Station, implicitly linking the film and Alpha to Ontario and its film art, artists and scholars. And in Landis and the TZ disaster, for Bowie played the implicitly Landis linked John in the allegorical Scott film, THE HUNGER (1983), released the same year as TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. The presence of Rutger Hauer as the President of the World State Federation who sent Alpha on its flight across the galaxy when it became too big to orbit Earth reaffirmed the film’s implicit interest in the twilit and disastrous year of 1982, as Hauer played replicant leader Roy Batty in BLADE RUNNER.
Fittingly, a link to THE FIFTH ELEMENT was also immediately made by Besson at the beginning of VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS, for the sight of the Alpha space station-city being assembled in orbit around Earth reminded us that THE FIFTH ELEMENT also began in orbit around Earth with the arrival of the biomechanical Mondoshowan spaceship. An implicit link to the Mondoshowans made by the arrival at Alpha of another biomechanical spaceship carrying an extraterrestrial race called the Kortan Dahuk, soon followed by an alien race called the Mirrors that resembled the Mondoshowans. This link implied that Besson was using VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS in part to comment on how far CGI enhanced film art had come since the release of THE FIFTH ELEMENT in 1997.
And implicitly how far CGI enhanced film art had fallen, for soon after the Alpha space station-divided into four elemental sections in an open allusion to the equally and openly elemental nature of THE FIFTH ELEMENT-was sent off into space to be an intergalactic Emerald City of a Thousand Planets due to the fact that it had become too huge to orbit Earth as a result of intergalactic immigration, we found ourselves on the peaceful, mystic, transcendent and paradise-like all CGI planet of Mul-which was ‘Lum’ spelt backwards, evoking Lumiere, one of the first French film artists. A fitting link to French film artists, for the planet implicitly symbolized the brave new world of CGI enhanced film art. Significantly, the planet Mul was destroyed and its CGI citizens, the Pearl, mostly killed-including Sasha Luss’ Leeloo evoking Princess Liho-when it became caught up in a brutal space battle, a planetary destruction due to space warfare that perhaps symbolized the belief of Besson that the dread allegorical Zone Wars had prevented the full and triumphant arrival of a Zone free and daylit era of CGI enhanced film art after 1997. If so, Besson implicitly believed that the daylit era of CGI enhanced film art would still arrive, as the film’s heroes, Major Valerian and Sergeant Laureline-played by Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne, respectively-managed to help the mystic and transcendent Pearl survivors of Mul recreate their brave new CGI world by the end of the film. A brave new CGI world that recalled the brave new CGI world of Genesis in the allegorical Nicholas Meyer film, STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (1982), a link to the twilit and disastrous year of 1982 affirmed by Valerian and Laureline’s exo-space traversing spaceship, the Intruder XB982.
Significantly, a Lynch resembling General Okto-Bar-played by Sam Spruell, who had also played the implicitly Lynch linked Jamie in THE COUNSELOR-helped Valerian and Laureline fight off the insidious Commander Arun Filitt-played by Clive Owen-and save Alpha and the surviving Mul, and, hence, CGI enhanced digifilm art, in another sympathetic nod to Lynch in a Besson film. Valerian and Laureline were also linked to Cronenberg and, hence, Toronto film art and artists again. For the final desperate work to recreate the brave new world of CGI took place in a dead red zone in the fifth elemental centre of the Alpha space station city-the eponymous city of a thousand planets-a dead red zone that evoked THE DEAD ZONE again, released the same year as TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE. Ethan Hawke also looked more like McDonald than the jolly intergalactic pimp he was supposed to be, reaffirming the film’s implicit link to LUCY as well as to Toronto and its film art, artists and scholars. And Ola Rapace’s resigned and long suffering commando, Gibson, evoked Vancouver based sly fi writer William Gibson, affirming the film’s implicit interest in Canadian writers. Thus, either Valerian or Laureline may have symbolized Gardevil. Indeed, the fact that Valerian was chosen by the Mul to save them and their brave new CGI enhanced world reminded us that the Muse had chosen Gardevil to enlighten the world about the dread allegorical Zone Wars and bring that bitter conflict to an end.
The resemblance of Delevingne to Charlize Theron’s implicitly Gardevil linked Mavis Gary in the implicitly Wright roasting Jason Reitman film, YOUNG ADULT (2011), reaffirmed the implication that the poor ol’ Gardevil was being addressed in VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS. The choice of Delevingne definitely linked the film to Toronto and its film art, film artists and film scholars, for she was linked forever to the city via her role as Doctor June ‘Enchantress’ Moone in the Toronto created, allegorical, and super satirical David Ayer film, SUICIDE SQUAD (2016). The fact that the film was based on an allegorical work of narrative art by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres called VALERIAN that was like a cross between ASTERIX and BARBARELLA first appeared in the 9 November 1967 issue 420 of PILOTE also supported the implication that the film was allegorically addressing me, given that I was born in 1967. Implying that Besson was either roasting or supporting me with a truly fantastic and spatio-temporal navigating film that reaffirmed his commitment to CGI enhanced film art and his belief that it would one day allow audiences, film art, film artists and the Temple Theatre to break free of the Zone.
For his part, Gunn implicitly roasted Besson again in the form of the pelvic entrancing Peter ‘Star Lord’ Quill-played again by Pratt-who joined his fellows Guardians-including the implicitly Guillermo Del Toro linked Drax the Destroyer (played by Dave Bautista), the Leeloo evoking Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana), the implicitly Bruce McDonald linked Rocket Raccoon (played by Bradley Cooper), the Nikita evoking Nebula (played by Karen Gillan) and the implicitly Mina Shum linked Mantis (played by Pom Klementieff)-in a triumph over the implicitly Bigelow linked High Priestess Ayesha-played by Elizabeth Debicki-and the raging and implicitly Lucas linked Ego-played by Kurt Russell-at the end of the allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical film, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (2017)-no surprise there, given that Besson’s implicit ode to Lucas in THE FIFTH ELEMENT was more creative, funny, human, liberating, memorable and wholly remarkable than the STAR WARS Tragic Trilogy. Indeed, the revelation that Quill was part human and part alien Ego affirmed his implicit link to Besson, for it evoked his fondness for Lucas and his fused Franco-American film art style.
Curiously, DC and Zack Snyder also implicitly linked Besson to Arthur ‘Aquaman’ Currie-played by Jason Momoa-and had him fight alongside another group of implicitly film artist linked superheroes in another desperate and successful struggle to save the world in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical film, JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017), an implication affirmed by the film’s allusions to THE BIG BLUE. Then Quill, Drax and Mantis-played again by Pratt, Bautista and Klementieff, respectively-rejoined their fellow Guardians and the dissembling Avengers in a desperate battle to free the universe from the insidious grip of the acquisitive, power mad and implicitly Michael Eisner linked Thanos-played by Josh Brolin-in the allegorical and CGI enhanced Anthony and Joe Russo super satirical film, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (2018).
Significantly, despite the fact that Star Lord faded away at the end of the film, the Russo Brothers also implied with Quill’s participation in the fight against Thanos their hope that Besson and his film art would help liberate film art from the Twilight Zone at last and usher in a daylit and CGI enhanced new era of transcendent, mystic and love filled film. James Wan implicitly shared their hope, for he again implicitly linked Besson to Arthur ‘Aquaman’ Currie-played again by Momoa-and had him save the world and its film art in the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced super satirical film, AQUAMAN (2018). A super rescue of the world and its film art repeated when the time travelling jackanapes of the twilit, allegorical and CGI enhanced Russo Brothers super satirical film, AVENGERS: ENDGAME (2019), allowed Quill-played again by Pratt-to return and help do exactly that with the triumph over Thanos-played again by Brolin-and his mad minions at the end of that film.
All of which implicitly inspired Besson to team up with Arbogast and Serra on the twilit, CGI enhanced and LA FEMME NIKITA evoking allegorical indie docufeature film, ANNA (2019), a film that no doubt allowed him to triumph over all Anglophone and Francophone film artists yet again and liberate audiences, film art and the Temple Theatre from the twilight in order to stand revealed in the daylight of a bold new CGI enhanced film art era as the Franco-American film artist best known in both combined languages as the Daulphin.
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