In the 15th century, France is mired in the 100 Years War when a humble voice appears, claiming to have been instructed by the Lord to lead the French army into battle and defend their land against the British. The voice belongs to Jeanne d'Aragon, a teenage girl from a tiny village, and, to the surprise of many, her story does not fall on deaf ears. Wearing the armor of a soldier, the girl known as Joan of Arc leads the French troops in what she believes is a holy battle. Joan would soon be tried for heresy for her actions, but history would vindicate her with sainthood. The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc stars Milla Jovovich as Joan of Arc, Faye Dunaway as Yolande d'Aragon, and Dustin Hoffman as The Grand Inquisitor. Directed by Luc Besson, The Messenger was originally titled Joan of Arc but added the prefix to avoid confusion with the 1999 TV movie of the same name, which starred Leelee Sobieski.
The serpentine plotline of Luc Besson's La Femme Nikita begins its 117-minute slither when punkish, psychotic, and drug-ridden Nikita (Anne Parillaud) fires her gun into a cop's face following the stick-up of a drug store, and is promptly imprisoned. She is thrown into a dank cell, then injected with a substance and told it is a lethal toxin. Instead of dying, however, the comes to in an all-white interrogation room, where French intelligence officer Bob (Tchéky Karyo), informs her that an alternate to execution exists: she can receive covert government training as an assassin. She accepts the bid, is rigorously trained, and later returns to society as a seemingly normal and gentle civilian, but falls in love with a drugstore employee while she's waiting for that first government assignment. The paradoxical concept of a young woman blossoming socially while carrying out cold-blooded murders was downplayed when La Femme Nikita was remade in America Point of No Return, directed by John Badham with Bridget Fonda in the lead. A far less sociopathic TV-series version of La Femme Nikita surfaced on the USA cable network in early 1997.