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.
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Young Parisian mail courier is content with his bohemian lifestyle, his circle of friends and listening to opera, particularly one exceptional American diva who refuses to be recorded. So enamored with her, he makes an illegal tape of her at a concert. But when the tape is confused with one implicating a police chief with the mob, he must use all his ingenuity to survive. Particularly notable for its stylish New-Wave production values and extended motorcycle chase scene. Written by
Stewart M. Clamen <email@example.com>
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 »
Jean-Jacques Beineix's first film is a quirky colorful pop mixture of action, romance ,music and fairy tale that is based on a pop novel by Delacorta. The story concerns a young French postal delivery boy named Jules, who is also an opera lover & a big fan of the beautiful,& eccentric African American diva Cynthia Hawkins who is performing in Paris when the movie opens. Ms. Hawkins played by opera singer Wilhelmenia Fernandez refuses to sing for recordings, and this quirk of hers is what sets the action of the movie moving. Jules decides to tape Hawkins in performance, after which he goes backstage to meet the diva, and promptly steals the gown she wore at the concert, which he sometimes uses as a scarf when its not hanging in a shrine he has made to her in his large loft filled with disgarded cars. The plot really gets tangled when Jules, while on his way to a delivery witnesses the murder of a barefooted young woman who is carrying a tape that has a lot of plot and secrets on it. Who is she, and why does she wind up with an icepick in her back is one of the movie's many enjoyable plot devices that slowly unravels as the film goes on. While on her way to the icepick the lady drops her tape (unknown to him at the time)in Jules delivery pouch, and the chase so to speak is on. Jules charmingly played by Frederic Andrei is not only in danger from the very creepy killers of the lady, but also from two shady Japanese record producers who want his pirated tape of Hawkins beautiful aria from "La Wally" that Jules recorded. Very much influenced by American crime thrillers & film noir but very much it's own film, Diva is a delight from the very beginning to the beautiful ending which takes place on an empty stage and always moves me to shed a few tears. One of the terrific things about Diva is it's lively cast of characters all wonderfully played. Thuy An Luu as the young & sexy Vietnamese model Alba, is most winning as the companion of the strange & seemingly very wealthy recluse played by the great Richard Bohringer. These are characters and performances to embrace, they make one feel good. There are many wonderful set pieces including a quite amazing chase on motorbike through the Paris metro, a stroll in the early morning hours around Paris with Jules and Hawkins, and of course the gorgous singing of Ms. Fernandez. Beautifully photographed by Philippe Rousselot this is one of the highlights of 1982, and among the very best of the decade. The newly released and happily restored DVD does justice to the film both in the quality of the picture and sound.
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