Saturday, 3 November 2007

DIVA - a study in style

Oozing style, sophistication and gallic charm from every frame, Jean Jacqus Beineix' Diva was the surprise hit of 1981. Its soundtrack, by Vladimir Cosma is as original as the movie itself.

Given that it was released at a time when the "high concept" antics of Simpson and Bruckheimer et al were ruling the nation's cineplexes, Diva should not have logically been the success it was.
Adapted from the virtually unknown (in the UK anyway) novella of the same name by Delacorta (Daniel Odier), Diva was French for a start so there were those pesky subtitles to deal with and it was about, a postman, murder and opera - hardly a great night out. Therein lies its charm and perhaps the root of its success. It was the perfect 80's yuppie date movie. After all, you could hardly impress a prospective date with Die Hard or Porky's 2. But by taking them to a French movie that looked as stylish as a pack of Gitanes and featuring a beautiful soprano singing opera, you became 'super intellectual' in one fell swoop!

In all seriousness, Diva was, and remains a joy to watch. Vladimir Cosma's stupendous soundtrack is the perfect accompaniment and features the titanic tonsils of real life Opera diva Wilhemenia Wiggins Fernandez and Cosma's own thoughtful compositions, the creme de la creme being the appropriately named Sentimental Walk. The Diva soundtrack is a reminder that not all films in the Eighties had to have the obligatory 'exploding helicopter' sequence and a song by Kenny Loggins.

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