Classic Film Night Wednesdays - DIVA (1981)

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April 10 - DIVA

"Here is a director taking audacious chances, doing wild and unpredictable things with his camera and actors, just to celebrate moviemaking."
--Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

"The novel touches, bizarre chases and plot twists, breathtaking camerawork by Philippe Rousselot and tension-filled editing, make Diva a superior piece of entertainment."
-- Variety

"A light-headed, fleet-footed French caper, Jean-Jacques Beineix's ultra-stylish Diva stormed the art houses when it was released in 1982, and it's still a lot of fun now"
--Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

The diva of the title is a famous black opera singer (Wilhelmina Wiggins-Fernandez) who steadfastly refuses to be recorded. The singer is idolized by young French mail-carrier Jules (Frederic Andrei), who sneaks a tape recorder into the theater and records her performance. This is witnessed by a pair of Taiwanese criminals, who unlike Andrei wish to profit from the bootlegged recording. They begin to pursue the boy, as do a couple of home-grown hooligans who believe that Jules is in possession of some murder evidence. 

The serpentine plot leads to a warm friendship between Jules and the reclusive diva - and to a brilliantly photographed (by Philipe Rousselot) motorcycle chase through the subway tunnels of Paris. 

Diva marked the directorial debut of Jean-Jacques Beineix, whose obvious fondness for the more esoteric techniques of the Nouvelle Vague never impedes his willingness to simply entertain his audiences.

1981 * France * 117 min * Rated R * French, English with English subtitles

Louisa Hufstader February 14, 2013 at 05:16 AM
I enjoyed this a lot. I also liked the way my phone autocorrected "Rashomon" to "Rash Onion" when I was trying to check in on Foursquare.
Richard Paradise April 10, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Check out the brilliant trailer for DIVA at http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi3517291289/
Louisa Hufstader April 10, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Love "Diva"! Highly recommended for a Wednesday night escape.
Louisa Hufstader April 28, 2013 at 11:22 AM
"Children of Paradise" is such a beautiful, exciting and romantic film. Astonishing that so much of it got made during the Nazi occupation. Arletty and particularly Barrault are magnificent. His student Marcel Marceau got more fame over the years, but in this film Barrault shows he's a much greater artist. The man who plays his father is also an important figure in 20th-century mime, Etienne Decroux.
Richard Paradise May 31, 2013 at 02:00 PM
Wow Louisa, you know your mimes.


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