Review: ‘Diva’

Diva is an extraordinary thriller and first film from Jean-Jacques Beineix, complex, stylish and fast-moving.

Diva is an extraordinary thriller and first film from Jean-Jacques Beineix, complex, stylish and fast-moving.

The story [from the novel by Delacorta] involves a young mail courier (Frederic Andrei) with a passion for opera. His idol, Cynthia Hawkins (Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez), has made a career of avoiding the recording studio but the industrious young man manages to covertly make a high-quality tape of her Paris performance. At the same time, a prostitute hides a cassette recording she’s made in his delivery motorcycle putting the finger on a drug kingpin before she’s killed.

His only ally is a mysterious, shadowy character, Gorodish (Richard Bohringer), who lives with a Vietnamese nymphet (Thuy An Luu). Character has been popularized in a series of French novels and provides an element of fun to the picture, popping up to help the hero throughout the story.

The director dots the tale with bizarre types who continually cross each other’s paths and wind up doing more harm to each other than to the young postman. The novel touches, bizarre chases and plot twists, breathtaking camerawork by Philippe Rousselot and tension-filled editing, make Diva a superior piece of entertainment.

Diva

France

Production

Films Galaxie/Greenwich. Director Jean-Jacques Beineix; Producer Irene Silberman; Screenplay Jean-Jacques Beineix, Jean Van Hamme; Camera Philippe Rousselot; Editor Marie-Josephe Yoyotte, Monique Prim; Music Vladimir Cosma; Art Director Hilton McConnico

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 123 MIN.

With

Frederic Andrei Roland Bertin Richard Bohringer Gerard Darmon Jacques Fabbri Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez

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