Diva


Diva
(1981)
   Film. Based on novel of the same name by Delacorta (the pseudonym of Swiss writer Daniel Odier), Jean-Jacques Beineix's debut feature film, Diva, at first appears to be a crime drama. The protagonist, Jules (Frédéric Andréi), clandestinely records the concert of the diva Cynthia Hawkins (the American opera singer Wilhelmenia Fernandez), who has refused all reproductions of her voice. Jules becomes the target of a corrupt police chief, Jean Saporta (Jacques Fabbri), whose mistress makes a tape exposing his connections to a prostitution and drug ring and then places this tape in Jules's carrying case. Jules is then chased by Saporta and by Taiwanese bootleggers, who want his opera recording in order to force Hawkins into a contract. Jules is aided by Serge Gorodish (Richard Bohringer) and a young shoplifter named Alba (An Lu Thuuy).
   At once a parody of the popular French policier and a playful mixture of images and sounds from "high" art and popular culture, Diva has been regarded as the first film from the cinéma du look. Beineix's emphasis on visual beauty prompted some critics to compare his films to commercial advertising and even to the experience of window shopping, comparisons that point to the elements of postmodernism in the film. However, Diva has since been viewed as a clever artistic engagement with the reproduction of images and sounds. The film is structured around the idea of theft, and multiple thefts punctuate the narrative: the pirating of music for pleasure and profit, the theft of the diva's dress, and the shoplifting of records. These thefts contrast, for example, with the idea of the legitimate recording of music and with Hawkins's own reproductions of older musical works. As a backdrop to the narrative, there is Beineix's filmmaking, which relies heavily on borrowings (or reproductions) from other films. These numerous examples of borrowing and reproduction point to the fact that all of art is rooted in such borrowing and that sometimes it is legitimate, sometimes illegitimate. Since it is specifically the marketing of art, and not its reproduction for enjoyment, that Hawkins resists, the film seems to suggest that borrowing and reproduction for "art's sake" is sanctioned, while borrowing or reproduction for purely commercial purposes is problematic.
   Diva also abounds in visual and auditory manipulation. Saporta manipulates his mistress's recording to efface blame. Gorodish uses optical illusion to lure Saporta into an elevator shaft, and the film itself records the sound and image of the opera singer Fernandez, despite the fact that it encodes this recording as taboo. There is also Beineix's own manipulation, whereby he borrows images from Louis Feuillade's Fantômas (1913), Marcel Carné's Les Enfants du Paradis (1945), and various other films. Film is also referenced in the stereotyped images of thugs in dark sunglasses, characters who mirror those often found in film noir or crime films. Through his own borrowings, Beineix draws attention to filmic images that are reproduced over and over again in popular cinema, and he blurs the lines between cinematic reproduction and invention, between marketing and art.
   Diva has been said to have heralded a number of film movements, some of which overlap. These include the cinéma du look, postmodern French cinema, the new baroque, le visuel, and the "new New Wave." Some superficial comparisons can also be made between Diva and Jean-Luc Godard's landmark Nouvelle Vague or New Wave film, À bout de souffle (1960). Similarities between the two films include the protagonist's obsession with an American woman, the presence of slick cars, the dominance of music, and the preoccupation with youth. Additionally, both works make overt references to other films. Yet one might also see a stark divergence from the New Wave with Diva's return to the vivid color and gorgeous imagery of the tradition de qualité, yet without any pretensions toward stable meaning. It is interesting that the film that marks this "new" cinema is a clever play of reproduced images and sounds. Its foregrounding of the visual suggests a rejection of the search for narrative truths and a concentration on the cinema as a purely visual form, a move similar to postmodernism's renunciation of grand narratives and its constant play with signs.

Historical Dictionary of French Cinema. . 2007.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • diva — diva …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • Diva — Diva …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • diva — [ diva ] n. f. • 1831; mot it. « déesse » ♦ Cantatrice en renom. Des caprices de diva. Par ext. Chanteuse célèbre. Les divas du rock. ● diva nom féminin (italien diva, déesse) Cantatrice célèbre par son talent, sa réputation. (Se dit de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Diva — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Para otro uso, véase Diva (single). En música clásica, una diva es una cantante de renombre que se caracteriza por tener una voz excepcional. En latín y en italiano, la palabra diva significa «divina» y es la forma… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Diva — – Plural Diven, auch weniger gebräuchlich Divas – rührt von der weiblichen Form des lateinischen und italienischen divus „göttlich“ her. In der römischen Antike standen die Attribute divus und diva nur Göttern bzw. Göttinnen zu, so auch den… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • divă — DÍVĂ, dive, s.f. (Adesea glumeţ sau ir.) Artistă foarte admirată de public. – Din it., fr. diva. Trimis de LauraGellner, 02.11.2006. Sursa: DEX 98  DÍVĂ s. v. star. Trimis de siveco, 13.09.2007. Sursa: Sinonime  DÍVĂ s …   Dicționar Român

  • DiVA — Pays d’origine  Japon Genre musical Pop Années d activité 2011 Labels Avex Trax …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Diva — Sf gefeierte Künstlerin erw. fremd. Erkennbar fremd (17. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus it. diva die Göttliche (aus l. dīvus, dīva göttlich , zu l. deus m. Gott ). Diva ist eines der aus romanischen Sprachen entlehnten Wörter, die durch… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Diva — «Diva»  песня Даны Интернэшнел, с которой она победила на Евровидении 98 «Diva»  первый сольный альбом шотландской певицы и автора песен Энни Леннокс «Diva»  сингл американской певицы Бейонсе с альбома I Am... Sasha Fierce… …   Википедия

  • Diva — Diva: Die Bezeichnung für »gefeierte Künstlerin« wurde zunächst Mitte des 17. Jh.s aus lat. diva »Göttin« entlehnt, dann im 19. Jh. aus gleichbed. it. diva neu entlehnt. Es bezeichnet also die abgöttisch verehrte Künstlerin. Zugrunde liegt lat.… …   Das Herkunftswörterbuch

  • diva — distinguished woman singer, prima donna, 1883, from It. diva goddess, fine lady, from L. diva goddess, fem. of divus divine (one); see DIVINE (Cf. divine) (adj.) …   Etymology dictionary


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