The Fifth Element

I saw The Fifth Element, a sci-fi film written and directed by Luc Besson, in the cinema in Seoul exactly 10 years ago, and I re-watched it on DVD yesterday. Between the two moments, I always had such a positive opinion of the film. I must admit that all I remembered about it were just beautiful visuals. I didn’t even recall the plot exactly (although I did know I hadn’t liked the lame ending). I still went as far as to recommend it to a friend. I suspect he now seriously doubts about my taste in films.

A silver lining though. The film confirms one of my homemade theories: ‘Good memory drives out bad’. I guess my memory might have been reconstructed when Jinu (a Korean hiphop singer that I was publicly crazy about back in 97) came on the telly and said The Fifth Element became one of his favourites, for he particularly loved the costume designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier. Or when the high school friend who I went to see the film with told me after the viewing that she never liked sci-fi material and admired me for my wide range of interests, my ego might have been, well, buttered up. (Hmmm, on second thoughts, it might not have been a compliment.) It’s then possible that all those little things worked on my brain, and made my negative memories of the film somehow evaporate, leaving only good images behind. Perhaps that’s why people say time is a healer. I hope this theory of mine can be applied to a wider context.

This concert scene (below) stays as my favourite bit of the whole film. No matter how many times I watch, I will still laugh.

FYI, the blue octopus-looking character is an intergalactic diva in the film. (Please wait for her dance.) I only realise this time why she has to look like an octopus. She will be shot at the end of her performance, and the hero, our Bruce Willis, will have to dig in her wound to find the hidden stone-keys in there. (A spoiler? I have just assumed you have taken my subtle warning about the film and decided not to see it.) She will be bleeding, but her blood is blue, which will be less disturbing! After all, she is an octopus! Let me hasten to add that this is not entirely my discovery. I have somewhere read about possible political implications in the film The Lord of the Rings. As Orcs are so not human-looking, viewers would feel less guilty about observing them being slaughtered. The writer of the article even went as far as to argue that subtle dehumanisation like that was being used by the Bush administration for issues about Iraq. Did he go too far?

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