» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

June 10, 2008
RATING: 8/10
In similar fashion to the Weinstein Company's recent launch of its Miriam Collection, Lionsgate Films has a new series of DVDs entitled the Meridian Collection, created with a goal to present "significant works of world cinema in elite quality editions of the highest technical standards that celebrate their creative impact." The earliest titles in the series certainly live up to that lofty ideal, beginning with Jean-Jacques Beineix's cult classic.

In 1981, Beineix's Diva was a forerunner of the Cinema du Look movement that would come to hold a prominent role in the French films of the following decade. Wikipedia defines the movement as one that "referred to films that had a slick visual style and a focus on young, alienated characters that were said to represent the marginalized youth of Francois Mitterand's France." Common themes within the genre included alienation and doomed love, with a focus on the conflicted state of the country's youth and the frequent use of the Paris Metro. Beineix's wonderful film incorporates all of these aspects and more, showcasing a director truly fascinated by the possibilities of filmmaking and the tools of color, music, sound, and mise-en-scene. Diva is clearly a thriller, but one with very little action; the first car chase, minor as it is, doesn't occur until well past the film's halfway mark.

The plot centers around Jules, a young French postal worker, who is infatuated with Cynthia Hawkins, a beautiful American opera singer, memorably played by Wilhelmenia Fernandez. After bootlegging one of her performances, and is soon ensnared in a web of police corruption, Taiwanese mobsters, and French thugs - one of whom is played by a very young Dominique Pinon (Amelie, City of Lost Children). Gluing together scenes of blackmail and intrigue, Beineix delivers a collage with an exciting early-'80s new wave sensibility, best exemplified by Vietnamese actress Thuy An Luu. Although the film was lauded as a benchmark for largely dispensing with the realist tendencies that had dominated French cinema in the decade prior, it maintains a bit of those influential sensibilities; never before has the act of buttering a baguette been so poetically and artfully described. Almost 30 years later, Diva holds up remarkably well.

In addition to the digitally remastered transfer to DVD, the Meridian Collection release includes several added features, including a handful of in-depth scene commentaries from Beineix, and a series of 10 featurettes that, when played together, serve as a coherent documentary on the film.

SEE ALSO: www.lionsgate.com/meridiancollection

Jonah Flicker
Jonah Flicker writes, lives, drinks, eats, and consumes music in New York, via Los Angeles. He once received a fortune in a fortune cookie that stated the following: "Soon, a visitor shall delight you." He's still waiting.

See other articles by Jonah Flicker.



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