La Femme Nikita


1h 57m 1990

Brief Synopsis

Instead of going to jail, a convicted felon is given a new identity and trained as a top secret assassin.

Film Details

Also Known As
Nikita
MPAA Rating
Genre
Action
Thriller
Foreign
Release Date
1990
Distribution Company
ALLIANCE RELEASING/SAMUEL GOLDWYN COMPANY
Location
Italy; France

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 57m

Synopsis

Story of a female murderer transformed by an underground government agency into an assassin.

Crew

Isabelle Adnot

Stunts

Jean-louis Airola

Stunts

Jean-marc Alary

Construction

Anne Angelini

Wardrobe Supervisor

Andre Antona

Construction

Thierry Arbogast

Director Of Photography

Jean-francois Auger

Sound Effects

Catherine Autefage

Other

Jacques Barbazange

Grip

Michel Barlier

Sound

Franck Bedu

Stunts

Pierre Befve

Sound Mixer

Lise Beraha

Production Assistant

Luc Besson

Screenplay

Luc Besson

Song

Dominik Borde

Music

Fred Bouchaour

Location Manager

Marie Brand

Other

Fanchon Brule

Assistant Editor

Xavier Buffin

Other

Patrick Camboulive

Photography

Didier Carrel

Assistant

Mario Cecchi Gori

Producer

Vittorio Cecchi Gori

Producer

Jerome Chalou

Production Manager

Jeremie Chapelet

Construction

Thierry Chavenon

Art Assistant

Nathalie Chéron

Casting

Elisabeth Chochoy

Script Supervisor

Nicole Cobac

Production Coordinator

Marie-laure Compain

Other

Catherine Constant

Assistant Editor

Alain Henri Darthou

Construction

Jean-louise Darthou

Set Decorator

Guillaume Debary

Assistant Director

Michel Dechaud

Carpenter

Paul Defisser

Hair

Christine Dejekel

Assistant

Nicolas Denis

Construction

Breton Des Loys

Wardrobe

Germain Desmoulins

Assistant Camera Operator

Anne Desolene

Assistant

Loic Dugue

Production Assistant

Christophe Dural

Electrician

Sophie Duvillier

Apprentice

Bernard Esteve

Electrician

Gaetano Falzone

Stunts

Pascal Fasola

Other

Pascale Fernandez

Set Decorator

Gilles Floquet

Grip

Jerome Fortier

Construction

Claude Fugain

Consultant

Yves Gabrielli

Stunts

Herve Gavillet

Construction

Christian Gazio

Property Master

Francois Gentit

Camera Operator

Jerome Giroux

Other

Xavier Griette

Boom Operator

Claudine Grumelart

Special Makeup Effects

Marie Guesnier

Sound Editor

Anne Guillard

Assistant Director

Richard Guille

Set Decorator

Neil Guillot

Other

Nathalie Hureau

Assistant Editor

Vincent Jeannot

Camera Operator

Michel Karyo

Art Assistant

Marcel Khelifa

Craft Service

Gerard Lamps

Sound Mixer

Jeanne Lapoirie

Assistant Camera Operator

Marcel Lassance

Other

Amy Lavietes

Consultant

Jules Lefevre

Consultant

Sonia Lehenaff

Stunts

Stephane Lelievre

Other

Mimi Lempicka

Wardrobe

Laurent Lesdema

Consultant

Alain Levy

Sound Effects Editor

Jacques Levy

Sound

Jerome Levy

Sound Effects Editor

Pascal Emmanuel Luneau

Consultant

Christophe Maratier

Property Master

Annie Marciniak

Assistant Editor

Isabelle Martin

Music

Jacques Martin

Special Effects

Jean-pierre Mas

Key Grip

Eric Mauer

Sound Editor

Olivier Mauffroy

Editor

Pascale Mons

Apprentice

Andre Noel

Animal Trainer

Michel Norman

Stunt Coordinator

Monique Pautas

Post-Production Supervisor

Christine Perrin

Assistant Director

Genevieve Peyralade

Makeup

Christine Pruvot

Art Assistant

Laurent Rabillon

Consultant

Leslie Rain

Stunts

Jean-claude Reux

Lighting Technician

Marie Rodriguez

Wardrobe Dresser

Coralie Roy

Assistant Director

Nathalie Sarret

Other

Nathalie Serfaty

Casting

+ric Serra

Song

+ric Serra

Music

+ric Serra

Song Performer

Nicolas Seydoux

Producer

Julie Sfez

Set Decorator

Mona Soliman

Set Decorator

Alexis Tikovoi

Consultant

Tammera Tudor

Wardrobe Dresser

Christophe Vassort

Assistant Director

Jean-marc Vidonne

Carpenter

Dan Weil

Production Designer

Carole Weiss

Other

Patrick Widdrington

Carpenter

Film Details

Also Known As
Nikita
MPAA Rating
Genre
Action
Thriller
Foreign
Release Date
1990
Distribution Company
ALLIANCE RELEASING/SAMUEL GOLDWYN COMPANY
Location
Italy; France

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 57m

Articles

La Femme Nikita


"Men are supposed to be strong, and I like to show them when they're weak. Women are meant to be weak... and I like to show them when they're strong." Luc Besson

Anne Parillaud made her film debut at age 16, playing "la jeune fille" in Christian Lara's Un amour de sable (1977). Graced with expressive eyes and full lips but an athletic rather than curvaceous figure, the Paris native progressed to a string of girlfriend roles, twice opposite actor-director Alain Delon, who took credit for discovering her. Fed up with her reputation as eye candy, Parillaud considered dropping out of cinema entirely until filmmaker Luc Besson (whom she married in 1986) promised to write a movie just for her. Nikita, known internationally as La Femme Nikita (1990), cast Parillaud as a teenage junkie recruited from the Paris slums to work as a state assassin. The role was cathartic for Parillaud, allowing her to perform with action hero agility, dodge fireballs, karate chop opponents, and handle automatic weapons. Having given birth to Besson's daughter Juliette in 1987, the 26 year-old Parillaud was put into a year of training to get her into shape to play the 19 year-old heroine. The actress submitted to classes in acting (where the timber of her voice was lowered), singing, dancing, judo, and target shooting before she was allowed to see the script. La Femme Nikita failed to impress critics but was a hit with French moviegoers, earning nine César award nominations and allowing Parillaud to take home the honors as Best Actress.

The son of Club Med SCUBA instructors who ported their offspring around the world on their professional peregrinations, Luc Besson turned to filmmaking when a diving accident prevented him at age 17 of realizing his dream of becoming a marine biologist with a specialty in dolphins. An assistant to countrymen Claude Faraldo, Alexandre Arcady, and Patrick Grandperret, Besson made a reputation for himself as a director of short films, documentary subjects, and television commercials, both in the United States and in France. Besson's early films, Le Dernier Combat (1983), Subway (1985), Kamikaze (1987), and The Big Blue (1988), did not travel well beyond the borders of France but La Femme Nikita was a bona fide international sensation, lauded in Italy with a Donatello Award and in the United States with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Film. Columbia Pictures and Warner Brothers split the rights for acquisition, with Columbia handling distribution and Warners retaining film rights and hiring Besson to pen the American remake, Point of No Return (1993). In the two decades since its premiere, La Femme Nikita inspired two television series, the Canadian La Femme Nikita (1997-2001) and Warner Brothers Television's Nikita, which debuted on the CW Television Network in September 2010.

Influenced by the graphic bande desinée, Besson preferred to shoot his films in scope, an approximation of the comic strip's narrow gauge. Besson filmed La Femme Nikita in continuity to focus on Parillaud's physical transformation from gutter ruffian to (as one French critic tagged Nikita) "Mata-Hari irrésistible." A disused tobacco factory in the Paris suburb of Pantin was used for the film's interiors, the distressed aspect of the crumbling postwar structure adding to the dystopian theme. In his homeland, Besson's cocktail of ultra-violence, simmering sexuality, and high velocity forward momentum was branded "Cinéma de look," shorthand for an abundance of spectacle at the (arguable) expense of substance. Besson followed La Femme Nikita with Leon (The Professional, 1994), starring frequent collaborator Jean Reno and featuring 11 year-old Natalie Portman in a startling debut. Besson made use of Hollywood A-lister Bruce Willis in his 1997 sci-fi parable The Fifth Element but has been more prolific as writer-producer of such high octane entertainments as the Jet Li vehicle Kiss of the Dragon (2001), the parkour-propelled District B13 (2004), The Transporter series (2002-2008) starring Jason Statham and Taken (2008) and Taken 2 (2012) starring Liam Neeson.

Divorced from Besson in 1991, Anne Parillaud enjoyed a brief international career, starring as a vampire thinning the herd of Philadelphia's Italian-American community in John Landis' Innocent Blood (1992), a comely Native American half-breed in Vincent Ward's Map of the Human Heart (1992), and single mother raising a son afflicted with dwarfism in Michael Lindsay-Hogg's Frankie Starlight (1995). Parillaud also contributed supporting roles to such continental productions as The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) with Leonardo di Caprio and The Last Mistress (2007) starring Asia Argento. She gave birth to two sons with film producer Mark Allan and between 2005 and 2010 was married to film composer Jean-Michel Jarre. If the balance of Parillaud's career lacked the high visibility of her signature role, the influence of La Femme Nikita was carried forward by such female dominated action films as Stephen Shin's Black Cat (1991), Patrick Leung's Beyond Hypothermia (1996), Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill (2002-2004), Timur Bekmambetov's Wanted (2008), Phillip Noyce's Salt (2010), Steven Soderbergh's Haywire (2011), and Siu-Tung Ching's Naked Weapon (2002), which featured Maggie Q, the star of TV's Nikita.

by Richard Harland Smith

Sources:
Luc Besson (French Film Directors by Susan Hayward (Manchester University Press, 1998)
Luc Besson interview by Richard Jobson, The Guardian, March 2000
Luc Besson interview by Ryan Lambie, DenofGeek.com, April 2011
Anne Parillaud interview by Joan Dupont, Interview, September 1992

La Femme Nikita

La Femme Nikita

"Men are supposed to be strong, and I like to show them when they're weak. Women are meant to be weak... and I like to show them when they're strong." Luc Besson Anne Parillaud made her film debut at age 16, playing "la jeune fille" in Christian Lara's Un amour de sable (1977). Graced with expressive eyes and full lips but an athletic rather than curvaceous figure, the Paris native progressed to a string of girlfriend roles, twice opposite actor-director Alain Delon, who took credit for discovering her. Fed up with her reputation as eye candy, Parillaud considered dropping out of cinema entirely until filmmaker Luc Besson (whom she married in 1986) promised to write a movie just for her. Nikita, known internationally as La Femme Nikita (1990), cast Parillaud as a teenage junkie recruited from the Paris slums to work as a state assassin. The role was cathartic for Parillaud, allowing her to perform with action hero agility, dodge fireballs, karate chop opponents, and handle automatic weapons. Having given birth to Besson's daughter Juliette in 1987, the 26 year-old Parillaud was put into a year of training to get her into shape to play the 19 year-old heroine. The actress submitted to classes in acting (where the timber of her voice was lowered), singing, dancing, judo, and target shooting before she was allowed to see the script. La Femme Nikita failed to impress critics but was a hit with French moviegoers, earning nine César award nominations and allowing Parillaud to take home the honors as Best Actress. The son of Club Med SCUBA instructors who ported their offspring around the world on their professional peregrinations, Luc Besson turned to filmmaking when a diving accident prevented him at age 17 of realizing his dream of becoming a marine biologist with a specialty in dolphins. An assistant to countrymen Claude Faraldo, Alexandre Arcady, and Patrick Grandperret, Besson made a reputation for himself as a director of short films, documentary subjects, and television commercials, both in the United States and in France. Besson's early films, Le Dernier Combat (1983), Subway (1985), Kamikaze (1987), and The Big Blue (1988), did not travel well beyond the borders of France but La Femme Nikita was a bona fide international sensation, lauded in Italy with a Donatello Award and in the United States with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Film. Columbia Pictures and Warner Brothers split the rights for acquisition, with Columbia handling distribution and Warners retaining film rights and hiring Besson to pen the American remake, Point of No Return (1993). In the two decades since its premiere, La Femme Nikita inspired two television series, the Canadian La Femme Nikita (1997-2001) and Warner Brothers Television's Nikita, which debuted on the CW Television Network in September 2010. Influenced by the graphic bande desinée, Besson preferred to shoot his films in scope, an approximation of the comic strip's narrow gauge. Besson filmed La Femme Nikita in continuity to focus on Parillaud's physical transformation from gutter ruffian to (as one French critic tagged Nikita) "Mata-Hari irrésistible." A disused tobacco factory in the Paris suburb of Pantin was used for the film's interiors, the distressed aspect of the crumbling postwar structure adding to the dystopian theme. In his homeland, Besson's cocktail of ultra-violence, simmering sexuality, and high velocity forward momentum was branded "Cinéma de look," shorthand for an abundance of spectacle at the (arguable) expense of substance. Besson followed La Femme Nikita with Leon (The Professional, 1994), starring frequent collaborator Jean Reno and featuring 11 year-old Natalie Portman in a startling debut. Besson made use of Hollywood A-lister Bruce Willis in his 1997 sci-fi parable The Fifth Element but has been more prolific as writer-producer of such high octane entertainments as the Jet Li vehicle Kiss of the Dragon (2001), the parkour-propelled District B13 (2004), The Transporter series (2002-2008) starring Jason Statham and Taken (2008) and Taken 2 (2012) starring Liam Neeson. Divorced from Besson in 1991, Anne Parillaud enjoyed a brief international career, starring as a vampire thinning the herd of Philadelphia's Italian-American community in John Landis' Innocent Blood (1992), a comely Native American half-breed in Vincent Ward's Map of the Human Heart (1992), and single mother raising a son afflicted with dwarfism in Michael Lindsay-Hogg's Frankie Starlight (1995). Parillaud also contributed supporting roles to such continental productions as The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) with Leonardo di Caprio and The Last Mistress (2007) starring Asia Argento. She gave birth to two sons with film producer Mark Allan and between 2005 and 2010 was married to film composer Jean-Michel Jarre. If the balance of Parillaud's career lacked the high visibility of her signature role, the influence of La Femme Nikita was carried forward by such female dominated action films as Stephen Shin's Black Cat (1991), Patrick Leung's Beyond Hypothermia (1996), Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill (2002-2004), Timur Bekmambetov's Wanted (2008), Phillip Noyce's Salt (2010), Steven Soderbergh's Haywire (2011), and Siu-Tung Ching's Naked Weapon (2002), which featured Maggie Q, the star of TV's Nikita. by Richard Harland Smith Sources: Luc Besson (French Film Directors by Susan Hayward (Manchester University Press, 1998) Luc Besson interview by Richard Jobson, The Guardian, March 2000 Luc Besson interview by Ryan Lambie, DenofGeek.com, April 2011 Anne Parillaud interview by Joan Dupont, Interview, September 1992

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

The Country of France

Released in United States Spring March 8, 1991

Released in United States March 15, 1991

Released in United States April 5, 1991

Released in United States on Video September 4, 1991

Released in United States 1990

Released in United States August 1990

Released in United States January 1991

Released in United States May 1991

Shown at Munich Film Festival June 23-July 1, 1990.

Shown at Edinburgh International Film Festival August 11-26, 1990.

Shown at Palm Springs International Film Festival January 8-13, 1991.

Shown at Cannes Film Festival (market) May 9-20, 1991.

Anne Parillaud received both France's Cesar Award and Italy's Donatello Award for best actress for her performance as Nikita.

Began shooting April 10, 1989.

CinemaScope

Released in United States Spring March 8, 1991

Released in United States March 15, 1991 (Los Angeles)

Released in United States April 5, 1991 (Chicago and Washington, DC,)

Released in United States on Video September 4, 1991

Released in United States 1990 (Shown at Munich Film Festival June 23-July 1, 1990.)

Released in United States August 1990 (Shown at Edinburgh International Film Festival August 11-26, 1990.)

Released in United States January 1991 (Shown at Palm Springs International Film Festival January 8-13, 1991.)

Released in United States May 1991 (Shown at Cannes Film Festival (market) May 9-20, 1991.)