Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-07-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Knight at the Movies: Diva
by Richard Knight, Jr.
2008-02-01

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Twenty five years after its U.S. premiere, Diva—the film that took America arthouses by storm in 1982 and ushered in an aptly named brand of new wave French cinema termed cinema dú look—is back with a new 35mm print and new subtitles. Director Jean Jacques-Beineix's pop-art pastiche is a glittering mix of artifice and genuine cool, with its intricate yet effortless thriller plot populated by some of the screen's most individual and eccentric characters; its combination of playful sexiness and frank desire; and its eye-popping electric visuals with one memorable set piece after another. It is all set to the amazing music score of Vladimir Cosma, which spans new wave to Satie to the aria from La Wally sung by the stunning African-American beauty Wilhelmina Wiggins Fernandez at the outset of the movie who plays the title role.

As Beineix's film opens, Jules ( Frédéric Andrei ) , the cute 18-year-old postman who zips around Paris on his moped, sits entranced listening to his diva, opera star Cynthia Hawkins ( Wiggins Fernandez ) as she performs a recital. Hawkins has a peculiar tic: she refuses to make recordings, insisting on the purity of the interaction between performer and audience. But Jules sneaks in expensive tape equipment and illicitly records the concert for himself. It's this tape and another—one made by a prostitute naming names in a call girl/drug ring and hidden in Jules' mailbag before she's murdered—that will set the plot in motion. Rogue cops and murderous thugs want the cassette made by the prostitute, and a duo of ruthless Taiwanese businessmen want Jules' tape so they can release it to the public.

As the plot plays out, Jules meets his diva and a host of other eccentrics. Among them: Alba, the pre-pubescent Vietnamese lollipop with her plastic clothes and clunky platforms who roller-skates around the blue loft of her rich savior, the chain-smoking Gorodish—who works at gigantic jigsaw puzzles of ocean waves; dons a mask and snorkel to dice onions; and reeks of sophisticated cool. It is Gorodish and Alba who will help out their new friend Jules when he finally catches on that he's in over his head. True to the rest of Beineix's film, the resolution is thrilling, funny and charming.

Diva is a perfect mash-up of old and new ( literally in its music, blending classical and new wave with perfect assurance ) , and it is visually delightful and inventive. I fell so hard for its stylishness and sensuality that I took it in at least four more times after first seeing it and the soundtrack—especially the iconic Sentimental Walk—has been in rotation on the CD player off and on ever since.

Why do I love Diva so much? Why have I popped it into my DVD player time and again ( and here's hoping this new print will lead to a better looking DVD ) ? Because it takes me back to the height of my own love affair with all things cool at the outset of the artsy '80s? Because, even though it doesn't contain a single gay character, one can feel them right there just out of frame? Yes to both, but mostly it's because it's beautiful to look at and is entertaining as hell. Hardly an artifact, Diva remains fixed in a perfect universe of cool—a moment of utter hipness and sophistication that has never lost its flavor. Opens Friday and plays exclusively at the Music Box Theatre. www.musicboxtheatre.com

Check out my archived reviews at www.windycitytimes.com or www.knightatthemovies.com . Readers can leave feedback at the latter Web site, where there is also ordering information on my new book of collected film reviews, Knight at the Movies 2004-2006.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Seth Rudetsky, LGBTQ films, Janelle Monae, trans singer 2020-07-13 - Norm Lewis, Megan Hilty and Cheyenne Jackson will join the line-up of talent slated to participate in The Seth Concert Series—the weekly virtual ...


Gay News

Welbon invited to join Motion Picture Academy 2020-07-09 - Local Black lesbian filmmaker Yvonne Welbon was among the 819 artists and executives invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and ...


Gay News

Billy Masters 2020-07-08 - "I might as well ask you what your paychecks are. Paul, what's your penis size?"—Chris Evans interviews Paul Rudd and asks the two ...


Gay News

NUNN ON ONE MOVIES Queer filmmaker has 'Mucho Mucho Amor' for famed astrologer 2020-07-07 - For generations, Puerto Rican astrologer Walter Mercado has brought hope and the future for many families over the years. He grew up ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Paris Jackson, GALECA nods, Halle Berry, Jennifer Holliday 2020-07-07 - More than 274,000 people have signed a Change.org petition to prevent the distribution of the indie film Habit, which critics say is "Christianophobic ...


Gay News

INTERNET Juan Pablo Di Pace: Life's all about the small things in 'Minutiae' 2020-07-07 - The coronavirus pandemic has put many things on hold—but has also led to creative output from individuals who may not otherwise have had ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Terrence McNally, Latino/a/x musicians, singer Harry Hains, Lena Waithe 2020-06-29 - Tony-winning actors Billy Porter and Rita Moreno, along with director Jeff Kaufman, will celebrate Terrence McNally on Wed., July 1, at 8 p.m. ...


Gay News

PODCASTS 'A Queer Serial' delves into LGBTQ history 2020-06-24 - Devlyn Camp, the host of A Queer Serial podcast, is preparing for season two, continuing the stories of milestones in LGBTQ history before ...


Gay News

TELEVISION Dashaun Wesley spills the tea on HBO Max's 'Legendary' 2020-06-24 - "Ladies, gentlemen and genderqueers" exclaims Dashaun Wesley as host and emcee for the new ballroom culture reality-competition show Legendary, on HBO Max. ...


Gay News

NUNN ON ONE TELEVISION Brian Tanen talks about 'Love, Simon' spinoff 'Love, Victor' 2020-06-24 - Ready to binge a new queer-centered television series that had a spoonful too much gay sugar to let the medicine go down for ...


 



Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.