Saturday, January 07, 2006

Diva, a film by Jean-Jacques Beineix

I first saw Diva with Bonnie twenty-four years ago. Afterwards her hand was sore from my grip, and I was weak from trembling. Few films have ever frightened me so much as Diva. I have never forgotten.

Today I saw Diva again. Knowing the end, I was calm throughout, but I still enjoyed the film tremendously. The singing of the aria from Alfred Catalani's La Wally by Wilhelmenia Fernandez is divine. The chase of Jules (played by Frederic Andrei) by the police detective through the Paris Metro is exciting. The thugs are totally evil. The locations and the photography are stunning. The plot has great twists. The film is totally French.

Jean-Jacques Beineix should be commended for his judicious use of music. Unlike most modern Hollywood directors, he used music only when it was needed, making it much more effective. In Diva the photography sets the moods; fill-in music is unnecessary; the silence of some scenes strengthens the suspense.

Should you choose to see the film, beware:

1. You will want to hear the aria "Ebben? ... Ne andrĂ² lontana" over and over again.

2. You will want to buy a bright red moped.

3. You will want to visit Paris.

4. You may not sleep well for a couple of nights.

5. You will want to add Diva to your foreign film collection.

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