Jun 14, 2008
For those of you who knew my cat, Diva, (RIP) - she was named for one of my favorite movies (as well as her unstoppable personality). I got a wonderful treat tonight when I saw Diva on the big screen more than 20 years after I saw it for the first time on HBO. I still have the video tape I recorded of Diva when I was in high school - and yes, it still works (thanks, Dad, for buying the good video tapes back in the day!). Diva has always been one of my favorite movies and seeing it again all these years later only reinforced that feeling.
Jean-Jacques Beineix directed this uber cool movie and and all these years later, it still holds up. Back in the 80's he led the way in the French New Wave of films. At the time I remember people saying the film was style over substance, but watching it again, I just don't buy it. From the gritty sets to the wet and dirty streets of Paris in 1981, the film is a visual feast. The storyline is still just mysterious enough to keep the audience interested in what happens next.
If you aren't familiar with this movie, I will provide a brief synopsis. Jules (Frédéric Andrei), is a moped riding postman who idolizes an opera singer, Cynthia Hawkins (Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez). Hawkins, the Diva of the title, is vehemently opposed to recording herself singing, but in his ardor, he makes a bootleg concert tape of surprisingly high quality. Add to these characters, an underworld kingpin who specializes in drug running and white slavery, the police, two Taiwanese music pirates, two hit men, a Vietnamese teenager who lives with a rich "benefactor" and you have one hell of a movie. A couple of things struck me as I watched the film, but they didn't detract, they just gave me pause to think. The first is that by today's standards, Jules would be considered a stalker, and the second was that the rich benefactor (Gorodesh) would be considered a pedophile.
This movie is romantic and luscious to watch. Each scene was framed perfectly, and seeing it in a theater for the first time only made me wish I had seen it in the theater all those years before - I missed so many details. It also has a wonderful sound track. If you get the chance, go see Diva at the Museum of Fine Arts this Friday, June 20th at 7:30 PM. I don't think you will be disappointed. Let me know if you are going, and I might make time to go with you;)