IMDb > Diva (1981)
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Diva (1981) More at IMDbPro »

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Diva -- Eighteen year-old Jules, an opera buff and post office worker, makes a pirate tape of the celebrated diva Cynthia Hawkins who flatly refuses to be recorded. The next day, just before being murdered, a prostitute slips a cassette revealing a scandalous illicit business into the bag on his moped.
Diva -- Trailer for Diva


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Up 29% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Daniel Odier (novel)
Jean-Jacques Beineix (adaptation) ...
View company contact information for Diva on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
23 April 1982 (USA) See more »
A Comedy. A Thriller. A Romance. See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. Another 9 wins & 6 nominations See more »
(15 articles)
Telluride Launches 42nd Annual Poster
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Dominique Pinon joins DuhLess 2
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Dinard unveils 2013 line-up, jury
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User Reviews:
Hated it the 1st time, liked it the 2nd See more (84 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Wilhelmenia Fernandez ... Cynthia Hawkins (as Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez)
Frédéric Andréi ... Jules

Richard Bohringer ... Gorodish
Thuy An Luu ... Alba
Jacques Fabbri ... Commissaire Jean Saporta
Chantal Deruaz ... Nadia
Anny Romand ... Paula
Roland Bertin ... Simon Weinstadt, l'imprésario
Gérard Darmon ... L' Antillais

Dominique Pinon ... Le curé
Jean-Jacques Moreau ... Krantz
Patrick Floersheim ... Zatopek
Raymond Aquilon ... Abdullah, le rasta
Eugène Berthier
Gérard Chaillou ... Mortier
Andrée Champeaux
Nathalie Dalyan (as Nathalie Dalian)
Laurence Darpy
Michel Debrane
Etienne Draber ... Le journaliste conférence de presse
Laure Duthilleul ... La copine de Mirmont
Nane Germon ... La vieille dame
Gabriel Gobin
Jim Adhi Limas ... Le premier Taïwanais
Louise Malapert
Dimo Mally
Vaneta Mally
Alain Marcel
Isabelle Mergault ... La fille du jeu vidéo
Marthe Moudiki-Moreau
Jean-Luc Porraz ... Mirmont, le collègue postier
Bernard Robin
Yann Roussel

Brigitte Lahaie ... La fille dont la jupe s'envole (as Brigitte Simonin)
Jean-Louis Vitrac
Tania Zabaloieff
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dominique Besnehard ... Le disquaire (uncredited)
Vladimir Cosma ... Le chef d'orchestre (uncredited)

Directed by
Jean-Jacques Beineix 
Writing credits
Daniel Odier (novel) (as Delacorta)

Jean-Jacques Beineix (adaptation) &
Jean Van Hamme (adaptation)

Jean-Jacques Beineix (dialogue)

Produced by
Claudie Ossard .... executive producer
Irène Silberman .... producer: Greenwich Film Production
Serge Silberman .... producer: Les Films Galaxie
Original Music by
Vladimir Cosma 
Cinematography by
Philippe Rousselot 
Film Editing by
Monique Prim 
Marie-Josèphe Yoyotte 
Casting by
Dominique Besnehard 
Production Design by
Hilton McConnico  (as Hilton Mc Connico)
Set Decoration by
Gérard Marcireau 
Costume Design by
Hilton McConnico (uncredited)
Makeup Department
Judith Gayo .... key makeup artist
Production Management
Richard Dupuy .... assistant unit manager
Catherine Mazières .... unit manager
Ulrich Picard .... production manager (as Ully Pickard)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jean-Jacques Albert .... second assistant director
Patrick Halpine .... second assistant director
Gérard Pujolar .... first assistant director
Art Department
Carlos Conti .... assistant art director
Kim Doan .... construction coordinator
Gérard Marcireau .... set dresser
Jacques Preisach .... property master
Sound Department
Louis Gimel .... sound assistant
Jean-Pierre Lelong .... foley artist
Gina Pignier .... sound editor
Jean-Pierre Ruh .... sound
Claude Villand .... sound mixer
Special Effects by
Paul Trielli .... special effects
Michel Norman .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Eric Baraillon .... electrician
Jean-Pierre Baronsky .... chief electrician
Dominique Brenguier .... camera operator
André Canda .... key grip
Angelo Chinosi .... grip
Arnaud Duboisberanger .... assistant camera (as Arnaud Du Boisberanger)
Dominique Le Strat .... still photographer
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Claire Fraisse .... chief costumer
Editorial Department
Michel Crivellaro .... assistant editor
Michèle Darmon .... assistant editor (as Michele Darmon)
François Gédigier .... assistant editor
Josef Lieck .... on-line editor
Christine Pansu .... assistant editor
Music Department
Luis Clos .... music recording (1981)
Vladimir Cosma .... conductor
William Flageollet .... music mixer
Catherine Leygonie .... music editor (as Catherine Leygonnie)
Jacqueline Porel .... music editor
Other crew
Jacqueline Benloulou .... production administrator
Maurice Cadaze .... production administrator
Marie-Jo Duchemin .... production secretary
Sylvie Koechlin .... script supervisor

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
117 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Wilhelmenia Fernandez did her own singing voice in this film.See more »
Continuity: During the metro chase, close-ups of Jules shows the collar of a white tee-shirt underneath his buttoned-up shirt. However, in both previous and following scenes, he is without the tee-shirt.See more »
Le curé:I don't like elevators.
Zatopek:You don't like anything.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Ave MariaSee more »


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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
Hated it the 1st time, liked it the 2nd, 1 May 2013
Author: rooprect from New York City

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.

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