• Nikita; The Big Blue; Leon (SBS Movies)Source: SBS Movies
Embark on a Besson Marathon and enjoy his unique visual style and vivid imagination with three cult movies available at SBS On Demand.
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SBS Movies

3 Aug 2016 - 9:37 AM  UPDATED 4 Aug 2016 - 1:19 PM

The Big Blue

M
France, 1988
Director: Luc Besson
Starring: Jean-Marc Barr, Jean Reno, Rosanna Arquette
What's it about?
Inspired by Besson's own passion for diving and by real-life deep sea diver Jacques Mayol, The Big Blue recounts the competition and friendship between quiet loner Jacques (Jean-Marc Barr) and larger-than-life Enzo (Jean Reno) first in their youth, and then when they meet again at the World Free Diving Championships in Sicily years later. Set to the melancholic and dreamy score by long-time collaborator Eric Serra, The Big Blue became a cult movie for a whole generation, playing in French theatres for a year after its release.

The Big Blue review and interview

 

La Femme Nikita

MA15+
France, 1990
Director: Luc Besson
Starring: Anne Parillaud, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Tchéky Karyo
What's it about?
Anne Parillaud stars as a burnout junkie sent to prison for killing a cop. In a great twist, she's given a chance to choose her punishment: either serve a life sentence, or enlist in the French Secret Service and transform into an assassin. La Femme Nikita, which inspired two television series and a terrible Hollywood remake (The Assassin with Bridget Fonda), is infused with director Luc Besson's exceptional visual style; especially the blue neon hue which bathes the action, blending perfectly with Parillaud's little black dress. Incidentally, the character played by Jean Reno, a crime scene cleaner who makes all traces of Nikita's botched mission disappear, inspired Quentin Tarantino's much-quoted Pulp Fiction character The Wolf.

La Femme Nikita Review

  

Leon: The Professional

MA15+
France, 1994
Director: Luc Besson
Starring: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman
What's it about?
Not only did Nikita's character "The Cleaner" inspire Quentin Tarantino for his Harvey Keitel character in Pulp Fiction, it also provided Luc Besson material for this unofficial sequel, Leon: The Professional, his first real international success. Besson's long time collaborator Jean Reno reprises his role as a cold-hearted professional hitman Léon in New York, who takes under his wing his 12-year-old neighbour, Mathilda (preteen Natalie Portman), whose family was massacred on the orders of a crazy-eyed, corrupt DEA agent played by Gary Oldman. 

Leon: The Professional Review

Jean Reno and Natalie Portman in Leon: The Professional, showing this Saturday on SBS
 

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