Sunday, March 16, 2008
I was really honored and thrilled this afternoon to attend a big screen showing of Jean-Jacques Beineix's Diva(1981) at Nashville's great Belcourt Theater. It was a really wonderful experience and it marked the first time I had the opportunity to view one of Beineix's films on the big screen.
Watching Diva for the first time in many years in this sort of setting was really special. The film is still as thrilling as ever and its extraordinary look seems even more alive than it did 25 years ago when it first premiered to negative reactions from the old guard of French Cinema.
Several things stood out to me this time including a couple of delightful winks I hadn't picked up on before such as the copping of Peter Gabriel's Intruder on the soundtrack before slyly highlighting the album from which it was taken in the background of the very next scene. I was also struck by how the glorious Brigitte Lahaie cameo is perhaps the most potent middle finger (imagine, a tip to the French sex film industry and Jean Rollin in one sweet shot) Beineix could have offered to the conservative French critics he knew were going to attack him upon the film's release.
I was also struck by how much more I was affected by the side plots this time instead of the main storyline concerning Jules, even though he is played wonderfully by Frederic Andrei. I was much more taken this viewing with the characters that the very striking Richard Bohringer and Thuy An Luu played and found myself nearly hypnotized by the brilliant shades of blue their apartment offered up throughout the film.
I am disappointed that Criterion is apparently not going to be releasing the film on DVD later this year. Instead it looks like LionsGate is going to handle that and it makes me worry for the extras the film really deserves. We'll have to wait and see but it is a shame that the "Cinema Du Look" movement will still be missing in action on the Criterion label...my fingers are still very much crossed for Moon In The Gutter to re-appear soon...
I will post more on Diva when the DVD does arrive here in the States. In the meantime, if the newly struck print does come near where you are don't hesitate to go see it. The film is still as dazzling and as moving as ever...