May 1, 1982 [Diva]

When the latecomer punks and New Wave pop stars finally take over cinema, will every movie feel like Diva? A part of me hopes so, as much as it may wear its post-modern heart on its sleeve--or chip on its shoulder, pleased as punch to cut-up the love story, the cop movie, the show business tale and art film--and spread out a pretty collage of music and color that knows what it wants. It’s almost just style--but in the quiet spaces it asks a real question: Do I own my own voice? The opera singer who never allows her performances to be recorded is betrayed by her moonstruck postman fan--in turn breath-takingly pursued by copyright-scoffing minions and crooked cops and crooks--and there beats the real heart of this movie, the nasty little guy with the earphone, his own tune playing in his head as he mutters how much he hates everything, upstaging just about everyone with his improbably pursed lips and blank-faced malice.

And when he finally gets it, a little cafĂ© music spills out of the earphone, a tinny requiem for the way they used to make pictures before the French showed ‘em how, just about: with confidence and cool, and a cute Oriental girl like a happy little cat at the corner of the frame confident that her philosophic friend--as infinitely resourceful as any super-spy--will literally hoist the bad guy by his own petard.


  1. I very much enjoyed your DIVA review! I think it might have been the first non-English-language movie I saw in my college years (in NYC in the now-defunct Plaza Theater with one of my best buds). Its wild yet soulful style won my heart back then, and it's still a delight to watch in the 21st century. Thanks for the memories!

  2. When I first started this project/blog, I knew it would be a long road--but there were little mile markers along the way to keep me going; "Diva" was one of them. I re-viewed it a few months ago, and was pleased how well it's stood up--and noted how its influence is still felt. Viva Diva!


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