Foreign Films Portraying Female Power: La Femme Nikita March 27, 2007Posted by ajaramillo in La Femme Nikita.
One thing that struck me about La Femme Nikita was how much the movie portrayed Nikita as having real reactions during her missions. While it may have made it more of a “female action movie” had Nikita kept her cool and never cried during the missions( like Sydney Bristow), depicting Nikita as confused and emotional made her seem much more relatable and made the movie, in my opinion, far more realistic than the American films that we come to associate with female power.
Although I do applaud Besson for attempting to humanize Nikita by allowing her to cry and show fear, he did not employ the same technique for the males in the movie. While Nikita was emotional throughout the film, she was surrounded by men who maintained very calm and expressionless demeanors, most notably in the case of “Victor the cleaner.” Also, all of her operations were done under strict male supervision with a very emotionless man telling her what to do. While allowing Nikita to cry could have come off as humanizing and realistic, it instead sent out a patronizing message that men are more calm and collected in high-risk situations.
The film had many instances where Nikita was being watched and evaluated, as if she was in a panopticon prison. The underground layer where she trained allowed Bob keep track of her progress while maintaining invisibility. The embassy’s security camera also gave a sentiment of an invisible omniscience. However, while in the beginning of the film she knew she was being watched and she rebelled, by the end the “watching” presence scares her and causes her to loose her cool. I found this regression interesting and thought that it would probably never happen in American films portraying strong female protagonists.