Diva (1981)

Jean-Jacques Beineix directs Frédéric Andréi, Wilhelminia Wiggins Fernandez and Richard Bohringer in this French neo-noir where a postman bootlegs an opera singer who never records her performances and finds himself inadvertently caught in a criminal cover-up.

The official start of Cinema Du Look, the French mini-wave of cinema where cool visuals superseded storytelling and realism. It can feel more than a little vapid at times… the plot takes a while to coalesce, then the middle act is littered with sequences that have little bearing on the protagonist’s dilemma. Yet it does all come together, just before I lost patience with this revisit. The loose, haphazard multiple strand storytelling owes something to Louis Malle’s superior Elevator To The Gallows, the gripping comic book flavoured stand-off finale predates The Coen Brother’s similar Blood Simple by a few years. There’s a few brilliant high speed, marathon chases through Paris and a quirky romance. It is all very Parisian, very 1981. Not quite as good as I remember but worth seeking out.


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