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 2019-10-02
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
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

Reeling Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival announces award winners 2019-10-11 - ( CHICAGO, IL - October 10, 2019 ) Reeling: the Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival announces the highly anticipated juried, audience, and AARP ...


Gay News

WORLD Kenyan magazine, Russian anti-LGBT ruling, Brazilian films 2019-10-08 - Pride Umbrella Kenya, a member organization of The Refugee Coalition of East Africa ( RefCEA ), announced the launch of QR Magazine, a ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer comic, 'Star Wars,' Nick Jonas, Rachel Maddow 2019-10-08 - Ian Aber—the queer award-winning, Atlanta based comedian known as a national finalist on the hit reality competition series StandUp NBC—released his first-ever studio ...


Gay News

LGBT HISTORY MONTH For celebrities, an off-screen journey to on-screen equality 2019-10-02 - ABC News correspondent Gio Benitez said that as a young reporter in Miami, he was inspired by the greats of television journalism: Peter ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Trans actor, 'Judy,' 'Concert for America,' Dolly Parton 2019-10-01 - Trans actor Brian Michael Smith was one of three casting announcements made ahead of Fox's 9-1-1 spinoff, Lone Star, which debuts in January, ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Ricky Martin, Tina Fey, Lee Daniels, Megan Fox 2019-09-24 - The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) will honor singer and actor Ricky Martin with the HRC National Visibility Award at HRC's 23rd ...


Gay News

Porter among those striking a pose at 2019 Emmys 2019-09-23 - Pose's Billy Porter made history the evening of Sept. 22 when he became the first openly gay Black actor to win the Emmy ...


Gay News

Sisters in Cinema launches fellowship for Black women filmmakers, LBTQ stories 2019-09-21 - Sisters in a SIC ) with support from Chicago Women's Foundation LBTQ Giving Council has awarded three first-time feature filmmakers with a $2,500 ...


Gay News

Black Alphabet film fest to honor Trans Awareness Week 2019-09-19 - Black Alphabet Film Festival returns for its seventh year, showcasing films that highlight and explore the LGBTQ and same-gender-loving ( SGL ) experience—and ...


Gay News

MOVIES A look at what's hitting the big screens this fall 2019-09-18 - Fall back into the movie theater after a summer that certainly had some lackluster moments, cinematically. We head into awards season and it ...


 



Copyright © 2019 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
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos 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.