“Diva” stars Wilhelmenia Fernandez, Frederic Andrei, Richard Bohringer, and Thuy An Luu. It features the directorial debut of Jean-Jacques Beineix, who took this story from a novel written by Daniel Odier.
After a postal man named Jules (Frederic Andrei) illegally tapes the concert of his favorite Opera singer (Wilhelmenia Fernandez), he is soon being chased by Taiwanese bootleggers who are after the tape. Making matters even worse, a call girl slips another tape into his bag containing evidence that incriminates a police chief. Now he must keep the tapes safe while struggling to stay alive.
Let me start by warning the illiterate, or just plain lazy people, that this is subtitled. The stylishly conducted score, the unique and somewhat cluttered storyline, and the fashionable atmosphere helped this film gain its acclaimed cult status. The camera is in good hands (lets not forget it won awards for cinematography), but the scenery is murky and gloomy the majority of the time giving the film an unclean look. There are some obvious flaws on the editors part, including an prolonged scene relating to detailed instructions on how to spread butter. Scenes like this could have hit the cutting room floor.
It’s certainly not a bad film, just one I couldn’t quite get into and had trouble following the multiple subplots thrown into the mix. Many of these subplots seemed meaningless. This is the type of film that has a 90 minute story stretched out to 117 minutes, resulting in a crawl to the last frame. The movie also never has a steady pace, leading to a fragmented plot and hard-to-follow storyline. I really wanted to like this film, I am just having a hard time expressing any true praise for it.
“Diva” contains too much dialog and not enough action sequences too keep viewers on their toes. The result is a film I can’t recommend for tasteful purposes, but I still don’t have the guts to divert any true movie buff from experiencing an acclaimed cult thriller such as this one. Although there is a great deal of beauty to be found in the French language and the high pitched tone of an opera singer, the whole experience felt like an effort rather than a pleasure.