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DIVA

Sunday, May 26
3:30

Monday, May 27
8:45

Tuesday, June 4
5:10

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France, 1981
Directed by Jean-Jacques Beineix
With Frédéric Andréi, Wilhelmenia Fernandez, Richard Bohringer
Based on the novel by Daniel Odier
Approx. 117 mins. 35mm.


A single misstep, and reedy postman Frédéric Andréi is on the run all across Paris — including a hair-raising motorcycle-and-moped chase through the Métro — hotly pursued by a drug dealer’s hit team, ruthless Taiwanese music pirates, and the obviously outmanned flics: all because he pirated a recording of the woman of his dreams, the never-recorded opera super-star Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez, singing an aria from obscure 19th composer Alfredo Catalani’s The Wally. Longtime assistant director Beineix’s debut was an international arthouse sensation, playing for over a year in some cinemas, nabbing four French Césars (including Best First Film, Best Music, Best Sound, and Philippe Rousselot’s cinematography), and single handedly launching the cinéma du look, an explosion of visually stunning, punk-inspired, super-cool French movies in the early 80s, soon followed by the films of Luc Besson and Leos Carax.

And super-cool DIVA is, from its color scheme, with a fiery red accent in seemingly every shot; to Richard Bohringer’s contemplative Gorodish, who smokes cigars in the bathtub, wears a snorkel to cook, and seems to have an endless supply of vintage creamy-white 11 CV Citroëns; to the outrageous sets, including Gorodish’s cavernous digs and Andréi’s own car-wreck-strewn garage apartment; to that haunting aria sung by African American soprano Fernandez (in her only film role).

Presented with support from the Ada Katz Fund for Literature in Film

Reviews

“RAVISHING, STYLE-SOAKED...the height of Beineix's — or really anybody's — cinematic imagination. DIVA is the 1980s by Immaculate Conception.”
– Wesley Morris, The New York Times

“A visual extravaganza. One of the most persistently entertaining, absorbing and scary thrillers I’ve seen in a long time…DIVA’s chase scene deserves ranking with the all-time classics, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, THE FRENCH CONNECTION, and BULLITT.”
– Roger Ebert

“A piece of divine madness, full of comedy romance, opera and murder. DIVA is a thriller with a new way of looking at the world — through a glass, brightly.”
– Michael Sragow, Rolling Stone

“DIVA is not only the most purely pleasurable movie to open here this year, but surely one of the finest films to arrive from France in a decade.”
– J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

“A razzle-dazzle sendup of thrillers…high-spirited and outrageous.”
– Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

“Funny, exciting, moving, mysterious and beautiful to look at…I love DIVA.”
– David Overby, Film Comment

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