Diva (1981)

Genres - Thriller  |   Sub-Genres - Psychological Thriller, Romantic Mystery  |   Run Time - 111 min.  |   Countries - France   |   MPAA Rating - R
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A stunning debut for director Jean-Jacques Beineix, Diva is a pulsating, eccentric slice of post-modernism. Shocking to many audiences, Diva blends violence, wit and punk style in a manner that later would be appropriated by Quentin Tarantino and other admirers of updated, jazzed-up film noir. The plot concerns a black Parisian soprano, some recording pirates who want to profit from her voice, corrupt policemen and a chief who runs a prostitution ring, and other seedy scenarios. More important than any of this is the frenzied, bold atmospherics, aided by an eclectic sound track. Cinematographer Philippe Rousselot's work earned him several critics' awards. Beneix failed to live up to the dazzling promise shown in Diva, a film whose attitude was widely imitated in the rest of the 1980s and the 1990s.