DivaFrance | 1981 | 117 min. | Rated R |
Wednesday April 10, 2013
Martha's Vineyard Film Center
$12 General Admission, $7 Member
Doors Open for admissions 30 min. prior to screening - buy at center
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.
"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."
"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