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The diva of the title is a famous black opera singer (Wilhelmina Wiggins-Fernandez) who steadfastly refuses to be recorded. The singer is idolized by young French mail-carrier Jules (Frederic Andrei), who sneaks a tape recorder into the theater and records her performance. This is witnessed by a pair of Taiwanese criminals, who unlike Andrei wish to profit from the bootlegged recording. They begin to pursue the boy, as do a couple of home-grown hooligans who believe that Jules is in possession of some murder evidence. The serpentine plot leads to a warm friendship between Jules and the… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 96%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The movie's a maelstrom of possibilities touching ethnic relations, high art, fashion and modern morality, not to mention cinema."
‑ Sid Smith, Chicago Tribune
"An elaborate, subtitled exercise in blowing hot air."
‑ David Fear, Time Out New York
"A topsy-turvy wonderland of stylistic riffs and thematic threads reverberating back on themselves for the sheer, exuberant, sexy hell of it."
‑ Kelly Vance, East Bay Express
"...back upon its original 1981 release, it was a true 'wow,' a filmic equivalent of the post-punk new wave music scene that was current."
‑ Laura Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"Had Wile E. Coyote chased Jean-Luc Godard, the result might have been Diva."
‑ David Elliott, San Diego Union-Tribune
"As with so many pop moments a quarter-century on, what once looked sexy now smells a little sexist."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"A light-headed, fleet-footed French caper, Jean-Jacques Beineix's ultra-stylish Diva stormed the art houses when it was released in 1982, and it's still a lot of fun now -- though its hip patina feels more quaint these days than cool."
‑ Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Director Jean Jacques-Beineix's pop art pastiche is a glittering mix of artifice and genuine cool with its intricate yet effortless thriller plot enacted by some of the screen's most individual and eccentric characters; its combination of playful sexiness"
‑ Richard Knight, Windy City Times
"--- a drama/thriller that is also quite funny ---this is the first film in which I truly realized the importance of cinematography."
‑ Jeanne Kaplan, Kaplan vs. Kaplan
"Beineix choreographs the actors and the camera into a stunning and stylish cinematic dance... This is not a musical in the strict sense of the word but it certainly feels like one in the way it moves."
‑ Beth Accomando, KPBS.org
"Diva, as a lifestyle, a fantasy, a model for alienation and solipsism and eccentricity, has gone deep into all of us."
‑ Philip Kennicott, Washington Post
"I still loved every minute of it."
‑ Leba Hertz, San Francisco Chronicle
"Jean-Jacques Beniex's bold experiment is worth a place of importance in cinematic history."
‑ Beverly Berning, culturevulture.net
"The chase through the Paris Metro tunnels is as fascinating as anything put on celluloid."
‑ David Kaplan, Kaplan vs. Kaplan
"... Beineix directs with a visual cleverness and a witty playfulness that tells the audience to hang back and have fun."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Turner Classic Movies Online
More reviews for Diva on Rotten Tomatoes