Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Fifth Element

The Fifth Element (1997) is an action-adventure science fiction romance (ha!) starring Bruce Willis as Korbin Dallas, an ex-soldier-turned-taxi-driver in 23rd century New York who is recruited to help the alien Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) in a literal battle against evil (which, it turns out, looks like a planet-sized metallic black sphere.)

This is a film meant to envision an utterly different yet utterly universal world, so it foregrounds its endless stream of innovative costumes (done by Jean-Paul Gaultier), sets, and props, but underlying it is a very basic story of the importance of love, which makes up the "fifth element" required to save the world. Although it is in English, it is a French production, written and directed by Luc Besson.The following clip is a short sequence from the middle of the film, depicting the point at which Korbin definitively decides to help Leeloo. In previous scenes, Korbin has hidden several military officers in his apartment, in order to talk to Leeloo and her friend Cornelius, and then hidden Leeloo and Cornelius to pass a police inspection. The officers were trying to convince Korbin to accept a mission to gather the first four elements, and rigged a contest to get him tickets to the cruise ship where he can obtain them, though he doesn't want to go.

When the clip begins, the police have just left.

The scene is dictated almost exclusively by the technology (the shower that retracts into the ceiling, the bed that retracts into the wall, the "autowash," even the plastic used instead of paper) or by love, as represented by Leeloo. The sequence, like the rest of the movie, couldn't exist without them.

Also, since I mentioned Jean-Paul Gaultier's crazy costumes in my tweet, a selection of my favourites for your amusement:


Ruby Rhod!

Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg!

Sky Waitresses!

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