MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 7,147 this week

Diva (1981)

R  |   |  Thriller  |  23 April 1982 (USA)
7.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 8,503 users  
Reviews: 82 user | 52 critic

Two tapes, two Parisian mob killers, one corrupt policeman, an opera fan, a teenage thief, and the coolest philosopher ever filmed. All these characters twist their way through an intricate and stylish French language thriller.

Writers:

(novel) (as Delacorta) , (adaptation), 2 more credits »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

Related News

Dominique Pinon joins DuhLess 2
| ScreenDaily
Dinard unveils 2013 line-up, jury
| ScreenDaily

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 43 titles
created 05 Jul 2011
 
a list of 26 titles
created 16 Jul 2011
 
a list of 32 titles
created 21 Mar 2013
 
a list of 27 titles
created 25 Apr 2013
 
a list of 28 titles
created 24 May 2013
 

Related Items

Search for "Diva" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Diva (1981)

Diva (1981) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Diva.
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 9 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Thierry (Gérard Sandoz) drops out of school to apprentice as a lion tamer at the zoo when he meets Roselyne (Isabelle Pasco), who shares his passion. They fall in love and when he loses his... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Stars: Isabelle Pasco, Gérard Sandoz, Gabriel Monnet
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

He is a revenge-obssessed stevedore whose sister was brutally raped and murdered. She is a wealthy, elusive woman. They try hard to get together... or do they?

Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Nastassja Kinski, Victoria Abril
Comedy | Thriller | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Michel, a psycho-analyst, falls asleep while listening to his patient Olga, a kleptomaniac and a sexual pervert, tell him how she likes her husband beating her. When he wakes up, he finds ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Stars: Jean-Hugues Anglade, Hélène de Fougerolles, Predrag Manojlovic
Betty Blue (1986)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Zorg is a handyman working at in France, maintaining and looking after the bungalows. He lives a quiet and peaceful life, working diligently and writing in his spare time. One day Betty ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Stars: Jean-Hugues Anglade, Béatrice Dalle, Gérard Darmon
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Two young robbers meet an old man. The three start traveling together, looking for the same thing.

Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Stars: Yves Montand, Olivier Martinez, Sekkou Sall
Subway (1985)
Comedy | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Fred is living in the Paris Metro system. He is blackmailing Helena, whose safe he has robbed. Fred has various 'friends' all living in this sureal setting. The Roller is a rollerskating ... See full summary »

Director: Luc Besson
Stars: Christopher Lambert, Isabelle Adjani, Richard Bohringer
Locked-in Syndrome (TV Short 1997)
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

On December 8, 1995, at the age of 43, Jean-Dominque Bauby, editor-in-chief of ELLE Magazine, suffered from a stroke and fell into a coma. When Bauby awoke he found himself completely ... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Stars: Jean-Dominique Bauby
Mephisto (1981)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A German stage actor finds unexpected success and mixed blessings in the popularity of his performance in a Faustian play as the Nazis take power in pre-WWII Germany. As his associates and ... See full summary »

Director: István Szabó
Stars: Klaus Maria Brandauer, Krystyna Janda, Ildikó Bánsági
Monsieur Hire (1989)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A recluse is accused of murdering a young woman simply because his neighbors think he is strange.

Director: Patrice Leconte
Stars: Michel Blanc, Sandrine Bonnaire, Luc Thuillier
Otaku (1994)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A documentary that explores the life styles of various otakus in Japan. Various interviews are given to selected otakus who express how interesting it is to be an otaku as oppose to not ... See full summary »

Directors: Jackie Bastide, Jean-Jacques Beineix
Stars: Akitoshi Ashida, Hiroki Hashimoto, Noriko Kato
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Stars: Yves Afonso, Denise Péron, Corinne Costantini
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Cynthia Hawkins (as Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez)
Frédéric Andréi ...
...
Thuy An Luu ...
Jacques Fabbri ...
Chantal Deruaz ...
Anny Romand ...
Roland Bertin ...
Simon Weinstadt, l'imprésario
Gérard Darmon ...
L' Antillais
...
Le curé
Jean-Jacques Moreau ...
Krantz
Patrick Floersheim ...
Zatopek
Raymond Aquilon ...
Abdullah, le rasta
Eugène Berthier
Gérard Chaillou ...
Mortier
Edit

Storyline

A young opera-loving mailman, Jules, becomes inadvertently entangled in murder, when a young woman fleeing two mob hit men drops an incriminating cassette into his mailbag. Jules has just recently recorded opera star Cynthia Hawkins' latest concert, something of a coup as Hawkins refuses to make recordings of any kind. Soon Jules finds himself the target of the hit men, who want the voice recording, and also of another couple of ominous and mysterious agents. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A Comedy. A Thriller. A Romance. See more »

Genres:

Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

23 April 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Diva e os Gangsters  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$5,555 (USA) (2 November 2007)

Gross:

$108,372 (USA) (28 March 2008)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The producers were looking for an actress who fit the description of Cynthia Hawkins (the Diva) in the original novel - a beautiful black American woman who sings a flawless operatic soprano, and speaks both English and French fluently. They attended a performance of Carmen to familiarize themselves with opera performers. Wilhelmenia Fernandez was playing the title role the night they attended the opera. See more »

Goofs

When Nadia is just exiting the metro station and runs into Jules, he is wearing his postman's cap. Later, in the police station when Paula is recounting Nadia's death, the same scene is replayed, except this time Jules is not wearing his cap. See more »

Quotes

Paula: And some women find police work dull!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The music continues for a minute and five seconds after the credits end. See more »

Connections

References Children of Paradise (1945) See more »

Soundtracks

Ave Maria
Composed by Charles Gounod
Performed by Wilhelmenia Fernandez (as Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez)
© Copyright by Galaxie Musique 1981
Tous droits réservés
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Hated it the 1st time, liked it the 2nd
1 May 2013 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

The first time I saw "Diva" I hated it so much I walked out with only 10 minutes to go because I didn't want to waste another minute of my life. I saw it again last night, years later, and for the life of me couldn't figure out why I had hated it so much.

"Diva" is a very stylish, very esoteric, very "French" film. So if any of those descriptions scare you, you might end up hating it. On the flip side, beware if you're a hardcore art film fan, because this movie is also a straightforward crime/action flick. So if the phrase "action flick" makes you cringe, you might end up hating it also. In other words, "Diva" straddles the worlds of Godard ("Contempt") and Michael Bay ("The Transformers"). And it has the potential to offend anyone who hates either extreme.

The plot, based on the 1979 novel "Diva" by Daniel Odier, is about a young moped-riding hero who finds himself in possession of two different tapes, one wanted by criminal gangsters and the other wanted by equally vicious corporate suits. The kid himself is mostly clueless, but he is taken under the wing of a mysterious millionaire who gets involved... sort of a Bruce Wayne without the Bat outfit. The "Diva" in the title is an opera singer who is played and, even more impressively, *sung* by the amazing Wilhelmenia Fernandez who in real life is known for her haunting rendition of "La Wally" as sung in this film. She is the one whose voice ends up on a bootleg tape, which is wanted by the corporate suits, who are chasing our hero, who is also running from gangsters, who want a different tape he has.

If the plot sounds tricky, perhaps comical, that's because it is. There are a lot of twists, turns, criss-crosses and surprises to keep you entertained. And while there aren't any outright punchlines and gags, there are some bits of humor and over-the-top characterizations that can only be interpreted as satirical. Example: the grumpy gangster played by the awesome Dominique Pinon whose only lines seem to be: "I hate cops", "I hate Beethoven", "I hate parking decks", and so forth (stick around til the end to find out evidently the 1 thing he likes).

But the real reason to enjoy this film is its artistic, stylish presentation. Directed by Jean-Jacques Beneix, this is perhaps his best example of a film style he practically defined in the 80s, known as "cinéma du look". This style is characterized by non-naturalistic, self-conscious aesthetics, notably intense colors and lighting effects. For example, the millionaire's loft is drenched in vivid blues. The city chase scenes seem to have an eery, artificial red/pink hue. And the Diva's rooms are a high-contrast, Kubrickian white.

Everyone in this movie is cool. Like too-cool-for-school cool. It glorifies classical music fans, gangsters, hipsters, rich folks, poor folks, Americans, Koreans, French, kleptomaniacs, prostitutes, good guys, bad guys, and everyone except that one poor slob who works at the carnival. Everyone is cool and in control.

Add to that the creative camera shots, for example lots of reflections (in the bad guys' sunglasses, or in the hubcap of a car, etc), and there you definitely have "stylish".

The music is artistic, but artistic in a very 80s sort of way (almost pop, a little bit cheezy at times but still cool). And of course Wilhelmenia's singing of the operatic piece from "La Wally" is gorgeous, and the film opens with a generous music-only scene where we can truly enjoy it.

So, upon my 2nd viewing, I recommend this film. I think the only reason why I hated it at first was because I was comparing it to Beneix's 1986 masterpiece "Betty Blue" (37°2 le matin), which digs much deeper into poetry and character development, while sacrificing the intense plot that "Diva" has.

I would compare "Diva" to the more plot-oriented films of Wim Wenders ("Faraway, So Close", "Until the End of the World", "End of Violence") and Ridley Scott of the 80s ("Black Rain", "Someone to Watch Over Me" ...incidentally Wilhelmenia Fernandez was also on the soundtrack of that one, singing "La Wally"). With "Diva"'s exaggerated colors and large sets, I might also compare it to the visual style--visuals only--of Jean-Pierre Jeunet ("City of Lost Children", "Amelie"), Tom Tykwer ("Winter Sleepers", "Run Lola Run") and the talented Japanese filmmaker Hideaki Anno ("Ritual"). There might even be a dash of Kieslowski ("The Double Life of Veronique", "Three Colors"). If you like any of the films or directors I've mentioned, you should give "Diva" a shot. And if you hate it the first time, be sure to try it again a few years later.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The two stupidist things about this movie thatkirk
The 117 minute cut and the 123 minute cut-what are the differences? MrBuchler-1
Diva re-released this year for a short time christine592
What kind of Moped was it? jacob thomas
the music from ear piece ematerso
amazing jigsaw puzzle of a wave sconlon-1
Discuss Diva (1981) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?