17: The Extraordinary Adventures Of Adele Blanc-Sec (Cinema)

I really want to try and link the order I write these in, you know, with amusing parallels between very different films. But as it happens, like the two Camilles, Adele Blanc-Sec is also about a woman living in Paris. The titular adventuress may first be encountered in Egypt, but she is clearly a woman of Paris. Indeed, once the initial Pterodactyl attack is over and done with in the first five minutes, she appears to be the only woman left in Paris (if you leave out her comatose, plot driving sister).

This is a little odd. Much can be made of Adele Blanc-Sec as a strong female heroine, feminine but gutsy, winning out with her wits over the boorish male establishment. And its a terrifically fun film, for all of its lopsidedness. But it was only afterwards I realised that there really are not any other female characters in it. None at all. Which then made me think about other Luke Besson films, and lo and behold, a pattern arrives. They all appear to have pretty much one strong female character – often superhumanly so – though the flip side being that they are often chaste (whilst often being hugely attractive in lots of ways). But beyond the extraordinary leads of these films, there are no other significant female characters, no ordinary women working for the police, no female paper sellers. Think about Nikita, Natalie Portman in Leon, Angel-A if you have to and of course The Fifth Element. Adele Blanc-Sec is a wittier, lighter version of much of these, but she still is alone in the world. No wonder she is desperate to wake her comatose sister setting off the flibberty-gibbet nonsense of the films plot. Though it has got some great jokes, and if you know a thirteen year old who doesn’t mind reading subtitles, they will probably love this. I liked it a lot more than I ever expected to, Harryhausenesque CGI included.

Film 2Oh!! This year I have seen 92 films, written about 17