443/646: Architecture and Film
The Fifth Element (1997)
The film The Fifth Element is the most recently executed of the films we are looking at this term. It has had the benefit of great advances in film making technology, as well as the ability to use precedents as they have been developed in many of the previous films.
This film makes surprising use of physical models in combination with green screen shooting. The detail in the models stands up to close scrutiny... The shift to "bright light levels", versus the somber, rainy mood of Blade Runner, also puts the graphics to the test.
Your name is ABOVE your set of images and phrase. Each question should direct its answer towards perceived issues of The Uncanny in this film. Feel free to draw in comparisons to any of the other films we have viewed this term if it helps to support your answer.
YOUR IMAGES ARE THE ONES BELOW YOUR NAME.
|1. Adam Brady : Vertical movement in the city||x|
The vertical movement found within the film the Fifth Element can
be interpreted in a variety of sense.
Cautius : Fhlotsan
In the stylistic,
future metropolis of New York city as depicted in the film The Fifth
Element, there is no better getaway then Fhloston Paradise. It would
appear that such a trip is highly coveted and would stand as a symbol
of status in the metropolis of 300 years time. The city here
is not depicted as rotten and decayed, not dark and damp as the portrayal
of Los Angeles in Blade runner, but rather gleaming and fast paced,
convenient and accessible. So one might wonder why the ultimate getaway
to paradise becomes a necessity? When Korben receives 2 free tickets
to paradise, he also receives countless nagging phone calls from his
mother. The social structure of life here appears to remain mostly
intact, skewed like anything only by great time. Korben’s mother
exclaims, among other things, that she personally is more deserving
of a vacation and a tan. This notion is, to us, unquestionable as a
vacation or a getaway is an escape from daily life for an emersion
in nature and contact with fresh air, exotic growth, and warm sunlight.
Yet once Dallas and Leeloo arrive at the Fhloston hotel we are given
a chance to examine the so-called paradise, highly touted on earth,
and we find a sterile, indoor environment. The luxury in this hotel
is found in its universally acclaimed amenities which one would think
could all be found in the city from which any of these tourist have
come. The theatre in which Plavalaguna performs is hailed as a perfect
replica of the Royal Opera House in Covent Gardens, an experience that
in no way would require planetary travel. The indoor environment
of the ‘paradise’ seems of no bother to its inhabitants
but the lack of contact with any natural environment promotes a sense
of unease as one is left to wonder where it is that Korben’s
mother would have found her tan? In artificial sunlight in a tanning
bed that is planets away from the tanning bed likely down the street
from her earthly residence? So why the bother? Why the distance? And
why the unlikely name of paradise? It would appear obvious to
me that the reason is boredom. The pace of society and all it has to
offer is so intense that it offers no need for imagination. This is
a society in which you are controlled, not physically, but mentally.
Chan : The
use of neon colour
In the majority of the previous films that we have watched the sense
of uncanny was one that was shrouded in mystery and horror. The Golem
was a man-made creature born of clay and underworld magic. As for Cesare,
his monstrosity resides in his eerie nature. He is a prophetic sleepwalking
being capable of refined violence under total control by Dr. Caligari.
Roy Batty shares similar qualities through his calm exterior demeanor
that barely contains his savage will. It was these otherworldly personas
that caused us to fear the antagonists.
4. David Henderson : The Portrayal of the Architecture at the "main" city level
The future portrayed in The Fifth Element is a very wild and
chaotic one, which seems to be not a new futuristic society, but a society
very similar to our own. Unlike the future as depicted in Blade Runner,
which is a world of decay and despair that has forgotten and abandoned
the world of the past, this world is a matured version of our own. Taxis
still clutter the streets of New York City, outrageous people are still
plastered all over TV screens, and giant corporations still get away with
anything they want. The world as a whole seems to function very much like
it does today, the main difference being that the plane of action has shifted.
|5. Minwoo Lee : of robots and aliens|
The movie, Fifth Element, envisions a future in which aliens, humans, and robots co-exist as integral constituents of society. In the social and chronological context, there is already a general acceptance of these anomalies into the daily lives of people as they take up different functions in society. The alien races are portrayed in likeness to human beings; they share similar emotions of anger and greed that displays their animated personalities. They are also a part of a larger civilization with functioning government and interest groups that suffer similar strife over ideas and beliefs as our own society. These similarities to the human society, lead us to believe that aliens are conscious, rational beings that must be treated with similar regards as human beings treat each other.
In terms of their functional role in society, robots assume occupations that are traditionally occupied by human being, serving to support the function of the city. This employment of robots identifies competence in artificial intelligence to serve in complexities that are beyond the traditional level monotonous work. However, despite their functional, there is a sense of discrimination in how they are perceived relative to humans in the social hierarchy. Like in Tezuka’s Metropolis, the significance of robots is isolated only to this functional purpose. Similar to how robots are cast down into the subterranean support structure of the city in Metropolis, they are confined to the spaces of their occupation and are made incapable of participating in social interactions.
The alien races are portrayed in a social position that is on par with human beings or perhaps even excelling them in their mysterious portrayal. This portrayal of the alien race is made clear by the way in which human beings associate with them. Aliens function integrally as a social equal to humans, making diplomatic gestures, fighting wars, and making business. On the contrary, despite their greater potential, the roles of robots are downplayed as mere machines. The sense of uncanny rises as speculations of how the human race is different from machines arises. As seen from the reproduction of Leeloo from a DNA specimen, human beings are reproducible as machines are. Also, the incapacity of machines to socialize can be seen as the result of intentional design rather than the intrinsic limitations of machines. In this case, the only justification for the discrete slavery of the robots is the fact that robots cannot rebel against the slavery they cannot acknowledge. The potential for human beings to become cruel masters of slavery is ever present; we merely haven’t found a method of doing so without facing criticism and revolt.
Lee : the
role of the police/authority
in the movie, the Fifth Element, the police appear in one of the first
scenes where they are chasing Leeloo as they cannot distinguish her
status or identity from their profile list. Their uniforms are reminiscent
of RoboCops and drives airborne automobiles. The police almost looks
foolish in their costumes and this is clichéd when they are fooled
by a loserly cab driver, unable to perform their duty. Also loss of authority
of the authoritative figures in the film is also evident with the fact
that a character that is the least flattering and of least authority,
a cab driver or an ex-military man, is assigned as the one to save the
world while all the big government and police agencies are almost oblivious
to the situation at hand, which makes their existence trivial and useless.
Also the fact that police are always using a mechanic device or computer-related
objects reflects upon their total dependencies on objects, adding to
the idea of the powerless authority in the film.
7. Evelyn Lo : eating and food
Fifth Element portrays a future that despite being a whopping two-hundred
and fifty years ahead, still bears an uncanny resemblance to the everyday
American world of today, provoking viewers to compare and contrast
the world of today with the possibility of the future world presented
in this film. Many aspects that pervade daily American life, specifically
with regards to ‘eating’ and the popular culture of ‘fast
food’ replacing home cooked meals, is prevalent and recognizable
in the film, yet skewed and exaggerated to suit the futuristic context
to enforce its very possible reality. Specific instances in the film,
are the depictions of arguably the two most popular fast food joints – Mcdonalds
and the typical Chinese Noodle Bar. Mcdonalds is still a huge
corporation monopolizing the fast food business as illustrated by the
gigantic billboard and is also still catering to the convenience of the
customer on-the-go, with drive-throughs, paper packaging and customer
service with a smile – all aspects of which we are all familiar
with from our present time. The stark difference is that the drive-through
points have relocated themselves off the ground plane and are located
above ground to accommodate for the floating traffic flow. The Chinese
Noodle Bar also presents itself as the very same as those we know today-
the friendly Chinese man behind the counter, instigating conversation
and dressed in typical chef fashion stir up a vast sense of familiarity
with viewers. New to viewers is the fact that the chef as well as his
entire joint have not only also defied gravity but has the ability for
motion as well- able to transport himself with his counter and cooking
paraphernalia directly to the customer’s home, hovering outside
their windows for quick and efficient fast-food service. This further
encourages the laziness and inactivity that is becoming a grave issue
of today’s society. The film presents the typical attitudes towards
eating, and ‘fast food’ as having a striking similarity
to that which we know today. This naturally instills an unsettling and
foreboding feeling within viewers in that even so far ahead in the future
the concept of ‘slow food’ or home cooking meals is rare,
and that the majority of the population still prefers the sheer convenience
and accessibility of fast food. This contributes to the ‘uncanny’ that
is consistent throughout the film, and is successful due to the lack
of differences between the future world and our own, creating a future
that is unsettling and disturbing in that not very much has changed
McFarlane : parking
Parking vehicles in the New York of The Fifth Element becomes uncanny because of the portrayal of the traffic in the city, the heights involved, and the way societal controls creep into his life as Korben Dallas starts his car.
The first two of these conditions exist in the way the future New York City is constructed and functions. As an exaggerated and imaginative extrapolation of the current conditions of the city, its traffic is shown to be perpetually busy, angry, and dangerous. Korben’s cab is nearly swiped as he is leaving his parking bay and the density of traffic in the city is illustrated by his need to dodge multiple layers of concentrated traffic in his later efforts to escape the police. The density of traffic in The Fifth Element can be compared to its relative scarcity and much different flow patterns in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner in which the flying cars are much further between, following trajectories that relate more to helicopter flights than to the apparently strict corridors in the sky of The Fifth Element’s New York, although this may be due to a difference in perception between New York of the slow-moving traffic grid and Los Angeles of the expressway.
These aggravating conditions give rise to a sense of unhomeliness that is multiplied by the enormous heights involved. In contrast to present conditions in New York, the parking in The Fifth Element is at an unspecified height far above grade. The inherent danger of the height is quickly established in the film by the depiction of vertical movement in the city: both Leeloo’s fall and her escape with Korben from the police. The specific effect that height has on the perception of parking in the city is that to the uneasiness inherent in the task of parking an expensive vehicle in a busy city full of reckless traffic is added a sense of lethality, amplifying what might otherwise remain only uneasy into uncanny.
The most interesting uncanny element of parking in The Fifth Element is
the systematic control over the starting mechanism. Korben’s taxi
cab requires his license to be inserted in order to start and the vehicle
registers his license and determines whether or not it will start based
on the driving record of the owner of the license. The implication is that
controls over licensing, (insurance and registration) misbehavior, (tracking
traffic violations by tickets or other means) and ownership (security by
key or in this case by license) have become much more systematized and
coordinated. This intrusion by systems into the life of the individual
decreases autonomy and fosters societal cooperation and control by the
necessity of interdependent interaction and can be read as an extrapolation
of the process of modernization underway since (arguably) the French revolution,
through our present condition, and into an equidistant future.
9. Sava Miokovic : Travel through space -- the passage of time?
In the future world presented in The Fifth Element, space travel
is a common and regular occurrence.
|10. Reena Mistry: the architectural manifestation of Zorg and its evil genius (notice how the view outside the window changes...)|
The architecture of the Zorg building, though shown fairly quickly during the movie, includes a few essential elements that are comparable to the architecture of the wicked powers in the previous movies studied thus far.
Located at one of the highest points of New York City, the capital of the world in 2259, the headquarters of the evil Zorg portrays a powerful position in society. Though it is unclear if this is actually the highest point in the city, the view from the window makes the building’s height and thus prominence in the city very apparent. This can also be read literally as “being on top of the hierarchy”. Similarly, the dominant power of Metropolis, Joh Fredersen, has his office located high above the earth, basking in the luxuries of the sun and sky, with views across the city. Blade Runner has a similar location for the Tyrell Corporation in Los Angeles 2019, offering the glow of the sun, high above the density of the city. All three of these movies place the architecture of the heads of corporations at the top, depicting the “powerful capitalist status” that their architecture represents.
The most apparent element of the Zorg building is emphasized by the giant “o”, the view to the city. This oculus that observes the city is a prominent theme apparent in many modern movies, the act of seeing or being seen. Like the uncanny feeling of being watched, explored in Playtime (and even the extremity of this theme in The Truman Show), the oculus in Zorg’s façade creates the effect of the watchtower in the panopticon city. This advantage of being the eye is menacingly inverted as the view changes with the phone call from Mr. Shadow when hazy glow of the sun is darkened to an evil wash of red; the evil that threatens even its allies, is capable of seeing past the eye, and produces a view onto its omnipresence.
at its basics, the architecture of Zorg announces the character of Zorg’s
evilness: the brutal businessman intently focused on his evil goal, as
portrayed by the brutal mass of a ridiculously tall structure with the
eye that spies on the capital of the world.
Ng : circular
rooms and corridors (why?)
of the circle is representative of infinity; it is continuous and endless – a polygon with an infinite number of sides. The
use of circular spaces in the film Fifth Element relates back to
a concept of design to allow an observer to be able to observe all and
vice versa where everyone else has a view of the observer. Furthermore,
the focal point of the room and the scene is obviously evident in these
circular rooms and corridors - the most significant always positioned in
the core of the space. It is as if these individuals have become
isolated and their being becomes concentrated upon themselves along with
the rest of the world.
12. Aisling O'Carroll : fashion
The entirety of Luc Besson's film, The Fifth Element, is visually
stimulating. Through action, setting, and characters, each scene is captivates
the viewer and draws you in to the sci-fi world of future New York.
visual conciousness it is not surprising that there is such an emphasis
on fashion in the film. The characters concern for appearance reflects
the nature of their person as well. Vitto Cornelius, the priest, wears
quite regular clothes for our day. As a priest of the ancient line, watching
the Mondoshawan temple, Vitto represents a primeval character, and so
his wardrobe reflects that character. The government officials of the
Federation all wear a similar uniform with subtle distinctions between
rank. The costume is simple and formal, and leaves the characters with
simpler personalities. The collective unit of officials appears like a
single, simple-minded force - with immense technological intelligence behind
them, but less practical intelligence in terms of solving problems. Zorg,
with a somewhat similar role to a used-car salesman, however with respect
and status, has a more stylized wardrobe than the government officials,
while still maintaining the formalities of rank. His suits have fine details
like in the collar, or the fabric. Most of his clothes seem to constrain
him somewhat, making it appear as though he is more concerned with appearances
than practicality or comfort - similar to his character. Zorg's subjects
are all dressed in much less formal or respectable attire. It is as though
his minions are his distraction as well, dressed to entertain him, be it
his secretary in feathery outfits, or his assistant, who wears a black
jacket and no shirt.
13. Shannon Ross : the city of New York in 300 years time
Both these images relate to the uncanny because of the density of the buildings in the city. Because of this density one can imagine very grim spaces with poor light and air. In the city conceived in the movie one cannot avoid interacting with technology or their built environment. The city seems completely void of natural elements. This creates an artificial atmosphere and suffocates human knowledge and memory of nature and all of its benefits and beauty. In that sense the city portrayed in the movie reveals unhomely characteristics.
But unfortunately, in 300 years time the city portrayed in the Fifth Element does not seem that far off. One could expect that with an increase in population, the density of our citites will increase as well. Even though there are some grim spaces, it seems as though many buildings receive sufficient natural light. This contrasts the vision of the future portrayed in Bladerunner. Bladerunner described a dark and damp future and in the Fifth Element there seems to be more natural light and more liveable spaces.
14. Terry Sin : common persons and intermediary spaces
instances of the Fifth Element, and similarly in previously viewed
films, the vision of the future seems to be an amplification of the
present. One of the primary elements that arise from our present is
that of compactness and convenience. Our culture is obsessed with the
idea of saving time and space. A perfect example would be to watch
Sunday afternoon infomercials on the television; such as the EggWave,
a device to cook eggs in the microwave or battery powered scissors.
In a more common sense, examples would be our obsession with getting
the smallest cellular phone or going through the drive through. This
capitalist idea is exaggerated to the fullest in the Fifth Element
and can be best observed in the spaces of common people and intermediary
spaces. Korben Dallas’ apartment is a prime example of the compact. It is essentially
the size of a small bedroom, yet still contains all the elements of a
regular apartment, such as a bed and bathroom. However, all these items
are “stored” on the sides like drawers or cabinets. Similarly,
the intermediary spaces, such as the corridors of the apartment complex,
are narrow and have sliding doors to eliminate swing and increase floor
area. This idea of efficiency also leads to the idea that aesthetics
(in the way that we interpret them) begin to disappear as everything
becomes functional. For example, the forms around the apartment doorways
seem to be purely structural, while the forms of the corridors seem to
be privacy guards. These ideas lead to the uncanny in the sense that
it is a forecast of our own future. With the rate of our own obsession
with the compact, it is possible that we may reach to the same level
of the Fifth Element. Furthermore, urban density is already impacting
living spaces with large spaces becoming overpriced and smaller areas
becoming more economical. The common persons’ and intermediary
spaces of the Fifth Element is an uncanny representation of a possible
15. Helen Tout : the architecture of the paradise destination
Fhloston Paradise is the prime destination spot in the universe in the
film The Fifth Element. Spots on this paradise luxury liner are
limited and fully booked far in advance. The planet Fhloston has beautiful
blue clear water and over 400 sandy beaches that close at 5pm. Fhloston
Paradise is a massive cruise liner that floats above the water of the planet.
The ship has 12 swimming pools, a sun deck, a large opera house with glazing
behind the stage, luxurious suites and its own bomb detection device. The
hotel has everything that people want and cannot usually have in their
Usas : state
of the environment
The two images taken from Luc Besson's The Fifth Element similarly
depict a possible dystopic condition of a post-modern consumer culture. Both
images illustrate waste as a substance that must be confronted, beyond
our contemporary perceptions that place waste which is out of sight,
out of mind. The waste presented in the film surrounds the viewer,
forcing the viewer to ponder the implications of post-modern consumerism,
and that which may result from human inability to maintain it's consumer
tendencies, despite the progress of technological innovation. The
first images frames citizens maneuvering through a futuristic airport
amongst a enormous mountain of waste, implying that it is no longer possible
to conceal and must be confronted on a scale which is beyond human. The
uncanny arises in this image when we are forced to except that the by-products
of culture have as powerful an effect in shaping reality as culture itself,
and the ability to form in scales beyond that of there construction.
The second image shows a police car hovering over piles of garbage. This
image implies that at a specific point in time, the city had no sufficient
storage for waste and was forced to build the city up and away form the
chaos that has over taken "life at grade", effectively superseding
all human occupation and establishing itself as the new condition of "life
at grade". The images elude to contemporary speculations that
at our present rate and coarse of growth and expansion will will literally
run out of space to store our waste.
|17. Susan Varickanickal : advances in technology|
The advances in technology in the film The Fifth Element, show the scientific and technological progression of humans from present date to the era of the Fifth Element (year 2259). In the film, the character Leeloo, was recreated from a few tissues of living cells, after her body was destroyed in battle. The machine used not only repaired her physical body, but also restored her mind (memories) as well. With this idea of technology rebuilding human bodies and minds, how does one prepare for death? In the film many characters are seen dodging bullets and getting out of harms way, yet with their present technology that should no longer be feared.
With the technology evolving, one would think that the humans would evolve with it and loose some of their natural instincts due to their dependence on technology; however, in the film “The Fifth Element”, there seems to be no change in human behaviors. They still fear being injured even though there is the technology to repair them, even after death.
with the idea of the uncanny, the human and super-human mind can also be
restored with the new technology in the Fifth element. Humans are
now capable of recreating / restoring life which plays into the ideas of “humans
playing the role of God”. Human interference in the natural
life cycle is now common technology, which creates the feeling of strangeness
in the sense that are the recreated being still the same person?…Have
they changed in any way from their original form? This puts a value
on the human life. Is it expendable due to the advances in modern
technology or is it more valuable compared to other species?
Lun Wang : The
The diva, Plavalaguna from Luc Besson’s Fifth Element is one of the iconic characters of the film. She has a minor role in the film but her staged performance was one of the highlights of the film and a prelude to the climax of the plot.
aspect of the diva comes from the contrast between her physique vs. colour,
and the score vs. vocal. The diva is a humanoid alien. Her figure is
mostly human, and rather attractive. She has the physique of a modern
day pop star in her slenderness and her well-defined curvatures.
However the glittering blue colour of her skin is a completely alienating
feature that establishes a sharp division between her and human. This contrast
between the homely and the unhomely creates a strong sense of the uncanny
in her appearance. It also questions the audience how she is being accepted
in the prospective future.
In both cases, the diva is an extraordinary character that reflects both the human cultural influence and a break through of our limits.
19. Benjamin Wong : architectural precedent
The architecture of the film seems to satisfy a popular imagination of a future city as established by previous films of the same genre. Most notable are the clear similarities of Luc Besson’s New York 2259 with Ridley Scott’s L.A. 2019, in Blade Runner. This is quite evident in the first image, which depicts an industrialized and uninhabitable area of the city.
A comparison might also be drawn to the 1927 film, Metropolis. Similar to Metropolis, The Fifth Element portrays the uncanny through creation of an upper and lower world. In the film, Manhattan has become a city entirely composed of skyscrapers. It is also a world that has been forced to vertically separate its inhabitants from the desolate and unviable ground level city. Similar to Blade Runner, the problems of mass consumption, pollution, etc. have become multiplied to a horrendous extent in the future.
At the same time, the world of NY 2214 is also a very stylized world in terms of its architectural language. The density of the city takes on a quality similar to that of a painting by Erasmus Salisbury Field (19th Century) titled, Historical Monument to the American Republic. Unlike the Art Deco city of the 1927 Metropolis, The Fifth Element is a monstrous expansion of the existing 19th century architecture that often defines the New York cityscapes of today. The film has used this architectural language to allow the audience to identify the future city as New York. The second image, which is an image of the priest’s apartment, is an excellent example of an interior of this style.
these images, the film also presents a series of other forms of architecture
that have a clear connection to architecture today. For
example, the sleeping pods that Korben and Leeloo traveled in to get to
another galaxy. These are very reminiscent of the “Capsule
Hotels” in Japan. This asks the question of whether it is simply
an acceptance of this type of traveling culture and experience in the western
world? Or did it become the only solution to the problem of overpopulation
and consumerism in a future world?
Corcoran : communication?
Communication within the 5th Element, though advanced in its use of both audio and visual interactions, as well as its ability to be used everywhere, leaves the user and viewer feeling more alienated than connected. The technology is presented as somewhat omnipotent, appearing impossibly through walls, as in the top two images, falling from mysterious tubes, shown in the bottom left, or uncannily following the characters, bottom right, in the case of Dallas, the ability of his mother to be able to use the technology to contact him wherever he is, whenever she pleases.
Like the issues present in the now common use of the cell phone, one never knows or needs to know where the other user is, or what they are doing. Conversations can be had across countries, inside or outside, without ever thinking about the situation in which each half of the conversation is present. In the movie, police can peak inside your homes at will, residents can view those wishing entry without their knowing, mail is manipulated into homes by outside forces, and unwanted phone conversations can follow you across galaxies. All the while, real interactions can be avoided, ethics and manners can be ignored, and isolation from true contact is ever present.
of the city in the 5th Element are constantly conversing, connected,
and monitored, but at the same time they are discontent, fearful, and
uncanny element lies within these advanced methods of communication and
the tangled web of mistrust they have created simply by being far too effective
Heck : the
height/cross section of the city
In Besson’s Fifth Element the sheer height of the buildings in the 2259 A.D. version of New York is an aspect that seems striking to the audience at a first glance. The play with the extreme vertical appearance of the buildings, the mega dense structures and the airspace between the buildings, which is used as a street for flying vehicles, take the whole concept of high rise buildings and urban density one step further beyond our current perception. Especially the airspace that is used for transportation creates a new spatial perception and in a certain way provides a “right to exist” for the extreme high rise buildings. Therefore, the interesting notion about the metropolitan architecture displayed in this movie is the exaggeration of the vertical notion, aspects like the “Manhattanism” and the vertical schism, probably developed to the maximum. The idea goes as far as depicting the central park in the future New York City, which is supposed to have the same size as the real one and being in the same location - but more than 100 feet in the air.
In this highly-stylized future metropolis these buildings and the portrayal of the city stand in huge contrast to the image of the future we see in movies like blade runner, for instance, or other dystopic movies. The general appearance of the city is more uplifting and cheerful, although the pure height of the buildings might induce the opposite feeling. This cheerful atmosphere is created and enforced by a lively and colourful ambience like the vehicles and the traffic, warm bay-coloured brick buildings, retro-styled buildings and objects in general, and hence creates an urban landscape that is not only expansive but also intimate as a result.
A similarity to other movies like Metropolis or Blade Runner though is
the change in the vertical appearance and the character of the cross section
of the city, where we find a rather dirty and creepy atmosphere in the
lower levels of the city, and a gradual change as the buildings get higher.
In the same way we once again encounter a social gap, with the lower social
classes residing in the lower levels of the city and the mighty and influential
people (like Zorg and his corporation) being on top of the whole city.
Gibson : The
the Opera House Ruby Rhod describes it to his listeners, “And
now we enter what must be the most beautiful concert hall in all the universe – a
perfect replica of the old opera house… but who cares!” and
for the majority of the audience I imagine this is the case. Unlike
the rest of the resort with it’s over the top baroque design, saturated
colors, and unnatural lighting conditions, the opera house with its traditional
architecture is a welcomed change. The architecture has an earth bound
feeling that can be easily related to, unlike the rest of the movie with
it’s futurist architecture, the opera house feels like a place bounded
in modern time, a place the viewer can easily relate to; a fitting style
since the further of world is dependent on this scene. However the
comfort found in this style of architecture is countered with by two different
elements. The first is the view, directly behind the stage, a window displaying
the plant that the ship is orbiting around, and second on the stage is
a sinewy blue rubber alien who despite her rubber ness has humanlike facial
qualities and many human attributes, giving the sense of unease to this
otherwise normal setting.
Gould : The
Although the movie The Fifth Element is
set mainly set in a futuristic version of New York it both opens and
closes with scenes set in the Egyptian desert. Thus although the movie is set in this world, the relation
back to Egypt gives it mythical and historical relations. There
is great symbolism in the relationship between the Egyptian culture and
mythologies and the Fifth Elements central theme of good versus
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