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Diva [DVD]

Frédéric Andréi , Roland Bertin , Jean-Jacques Beineix    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Frédéric Andréi, Roland Bertin, Richard Bohringer, Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez, Thuy An Luu
  • Directors: Jean-Jacques Beineix
  • Producers: Irene Silberman
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: French
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Warner
  • DVD Release Date: 3 May 2004
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006FI2R
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,593 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

This French thriller is the directorial debut of Jean-Jacques Beineix. Jules (Frédéric Andréi) is a Parisian mail courier in possession of two highly sought-after tapes: the first contains a rare recording of American opera singer Cynthia Hawkins (Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez), with whom he has fallen in love; the second is a tape slipped into his bag by a young woman just before she is murdered. The unwitting Jules thus finds himself being pursued by Taiwanese bootleggers and a thuggish gang of drug dealers who will do anything to get their hands on the cassettes.


Jean-Jacques Beineix (Betty Blue) made a catchy debut as a director with this slick, defiantly superficial 1982 movie about a young mail carrier who illegally records a performance by an opera singer, then gets the tape mixed up with evidence that could incriminate gangsters. Wearing flashy commercialism like a badge, Beineix fills the screen with explosions of disposable pop kitsch. Yet he also tells a fairly compelling story in the process, one that only seems to get more interesting the closer one gets to the end. An unusual experience, Diva should be seen also for the influence it had on the look and feel of movies and music videos in the 1980s. --Tom Keogh, --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb atmospheric French black comedy. 16 April 2000
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Jules, the Parisian postman who is the central character, makes an illicit "live" tape recording of the opera singer with whom he is obsessed, his diva. She has never made a recording and Jules is pursued by two Taiwanese dealers who will ignore copyright proprieties and mass produce the tape.
Intertwined with this plot is a second, in which Jules is pursued by two mobsters, and the police, hunting a second tape; this time an account of the rackets run by Mr Big by his mistress. Jules has two allies however who help him through a series of scrapes.
A brilliant "chase based" thriller set in the seedy underworld of Paris. Well paced, the use of plot and sub-plot captures the raw atmosphere of contemporary Paris and results in the finest of a genre of films such as Le Cop, Subway and Dede.
Not to be missed
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dilightfull!! 18 July 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I saw this film a few years after it came out, thought it was absoloutly stunning, certainly one of the new wave of chic French films that paved the way for other such classics as Betty Blue. Watching it again as an adult wasn't quite as fulfilling as the last time I saw it as an impressionable youth.

Diva basically has 2 plots that run side by side, the story of 2 tape recordings, One a Illegal recording of an Opera Diva made by a postman and the other a testimony by a local prostitute about a powerful Drug Lord, The postman ends up in possession of both and is chased by 2 sets of criminals, 2 Chinese chaps and 2 french hitmen, Dominique Pinon, one of the hitmen seems to be dressed exactly like the Terminator, Theres even one scene in the film that shares more than a passing resemblance to a scene in T2, Coincidence???. Anyway, these 2 plots don't seem to mesh that well and either one on there own would have been sufficient to carry the movie. Although not too much of a weakness they do make the film a little over long. Having said that apart from the slightly clunky scenario Diva has more than enough cool moments and characters to keep you hooked. It's also a triumph in cinematography, each scene and shot seems to have been lite and structured as if it was a painting, each frame being as important and well thought out as any masterpiece in the Lourve.

If your into foreign of French cinema you just have to have this, it's probably THE most important French film of the 80's and you can see it's influence on nearly every French production since .
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Jules (Frederic Andrei) is a young special delivery messenger in Paris who loves opera and worships the singer Cynthia Hawkins (Wilhemenia Wiggins Fernandez). She's famous for never making recordings. Jules secretly tapes her, and the action starts. Two Taiwan hoods learned of his plans and are determined to steal the tape so they can make bootleg copies. At the same time, a prostitute lets the police know that she made a tape implicating the chief of police in some very nasty crimes involving prostitution and drugs. The tapes get mixed up, and the Taiwan hoods and two ruthless killers working for the police chief go after Jules. He meets and is helped by a young Viet Namese girl and her protector, played by the first-rate French actor Richard Bohringer. Things sort themselves out but only after two hours of stylish, exciting film making, the development of interesting characters you start to care about, especially Jules, and a first-rate chase involving Jules on his moped in and out of the Paris Metro.

The opera recording Jules made is of Hawkins singing an aria from La Wally. The actress playing the role, Wilhemenia Wiggins Fernandez, is an opera singer (and a good actress). She probably had a lot of movie goers running to record shops trying to get her stuff. It's a beautiful, haunting piece of work and is heard several times.

I think Diva is an excellent, high-class mystery/chase movie that holds up very well. Watching it again reminded me of how much I liked it the first time I saw it. The DVD transfer is acceptable.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr Gorodish 14 April 2010
Diva (Dir: Jean-Jacques Beineix, 1981) was twenty years ahead of its time and still looks good today - thirty years after it was made. Its particular mixture of high culture, pop culture, Eastern and Western motifs is actually very contemporary - very much where we are now. In terms of style, then, it is no exaggeration to say that Diva was the most significant French film of the 1980s, and one whose influence continues to be felt. Durarara!! for example, would not look and sound quite the way it does had Diva never been made. Having said that, and looking in the opposite direction, I think it is also true to say that Diva owes an unacknowledged debt to the Cary Grant/Audrey Hepburn vehicle, Charade, which was likewise shot in Paris some twenty years earlier.

In terms of plot, Diva is what they used to call a "caper" movie. A young postman, Jules, is in possession of two tapes - one reel-to-reel and one cassette - neither of which he is supposed to have, and only one of which he is aware of having. Both the police and the criminal fraternity are after the tape he doesn't know about, and the Taiwanese music business are after the tape he does know about. Add to this a mysterious and very cool character called "Gorodish" - "He is an outsider...The Lone Ranger" - and the young Vietnamese girl who accompanies him (the precise nature of the relationship is never fully explained) and we're away...

Diva was my favourite film from the moment I saw it (probably 1981/2) and remained so for years afterwards. Then I saw it once too often, got tired of it, and put it away for a few decades. Watching it now - as I'm writing this - I find that it is my favourite film all over again. And, for the reasons already mentioned, it has turned out to be remarkably prescient.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the best films ever
Published 1 month ago by David Ludkin
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime
This sounds superb through a very good sound system. La Wally's voice will send tingles up and down your spine.
Published 6 months ago by A. J. Collins
5.0 out of 5 stars quietly special
this is a gem of a film. dated and tatty around the edges. some roles beautifully hammed up others subtly underplayed. This film could only be made in France. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Macca
5.0 out of 5 stars Diva
Great if a little old now but what great voice and brilliantly executed scenes and been copied in several places
Would watch it over and over
Published 8 months ago by Sin Jo Martial
5.0 out of 5 stars Iconic French stunner!
Wore my VHS version out many moos ago,watching it after many interim years, it may be a tad dated, but has lost none of its moodiness or edgy feeling, with loads of classic... Read more
Published 14 months ago by GEOFF RIDING
4.0 out of 5 stars Delicious
A feast for the palate.
I applied it to a slice of wholemeal and melted it under the grill. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Malcolm Tierney
5.0 out of 5 stars Diva
We first saw this movie around 20 years ago at The Screen on the Green, Islington. We rented it from lovefilm; we enjoyed so much that we gave it to our daughter for a birthday... Read more
Published 16 months ago by MARTIN F
5.0 out of 5 stars Good film with subtitles
I recalled seeing this at the pictures years ago but have never seen it on the TV so thought I'd get it on DVD. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Grae old school gamer
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful movie. Wonderful music.
I saw the movie back in the 1980s and loved it. It is even better on seeing it again- the acting is great. It has humour, action and one of the best movie scores. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Waratah39
5.0 out of 5 stars DIVA
The nostalgia!

To me, the film "Diva" was a movie that a group of us used to watch. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Jet Lagged
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Sound quality ok in this release? 2 19 Jun 2010
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