Vladimir Nabokov

NABOKV-L post 0000386, Mon, 21 Nov 1994 08:32:46 -0800

Lolita Meets La Femme Nikita (fwd)
From: ROY C. FLANNAGAN <73733.3547@compuserve.com>

Some follow-up comments on The Professional:

The movie does carry a strong resemblance to Lolita. Written and directed
by Luc Besson, the film concerns the oddball relationship between
12-year-old Matilda (note the Lolita lilt in the name) and Leon, an emigre
Italian with an almost artful ability to kill people for the mobsters of
New York's Little Italy. Like Lolita, Matilda abruptly loses her mother
and the rest of her family, this time in a mass drug-related slaughter, and
finds herself turning to Leon for care (and survival). Like Humbert and
Lolita, Leon and Matilda then begin a tour of the scummy hotels of New
York. It is almost as if Luc Besson turned to Nabokov's novel to help
Americanize his interest in hitmen and women (Both La Femme Nikita and The
Professional resemble primers on murdering on assignment). Even though
there is some sexual tension between Leon and Matilda, Leon remains
strictly ascetic, as if his profession was passionate relief enough, and by
the end of the movie they share a strong father-daughter love for each
other. Nabokovians may enjoy tracing all the movie's debts to and
variations on VN's novel.