Leeloo’s Language In The Fifth Element Is More Real Than You Think
“The Fifth Element” is a colorful, ambitious, and deliciously zany take on pulpy sci-fi cliches about a colossal negative space that returns to Earth every 5,000 years, only to be repelled by a race of divine alien beings intermittently called . Mandoshawan. In the future, Evil returns and an ill-fitting taxi driver named Corbin Dallas (Bruce Willis) must team up with the visiting divine alien named Leeloominaï Lekatariba Lamina-Tchaï Ekbat De Sebat, or Leeloo for short, so that she may collect four magic stones and use his own innate perfection to repel the planet of death. During the film, Corbin and Leeloo fall in love, even though he only speaks English and she only speaks the divine language. To emphasize his extraterrestrial nature, Besson chose to leave Leeloo’s language uncaptioned, leaving Corbin off balance, but allowing him and the audience to be amazed by Jovovich’s authenticity and childlike wonderment with Earth.
Besson allegedly invented a whole dictionary of divine language vocabulary words and gave it to Jovovich to memorize. Various reports have indicated that there were 400 or 500 words in this language. In order to practice the language, Besson and Jovovich would have conversations on the set of “The Fifth Element.” This was a tactic later employed by James Cameron and his Na’Vi-speaking cast members on “Avatar.” Jovovich is already multilingual – she speaks English, French, Serbian and Russian – so picking up new syntax was easy for her, at least easier than for monolingual people. In an interview with iD, however, Jovovich admitted to forgetting about God’s Language after production. Movie actors, she said, are very good at memorizing lines and then forgetting them once they are no longer needed.