Dying for opera; or, how to set a French crime thriller to Catalani

Jean-Jacques Beineix’s 1981 debut feature Diva was hugely popular at SIFF ’82 and during its long subsequent commercial run in Seattle. Opera, criminal intrigue, and gorgeous cinematography make for one ravishingly stylish movie—and mark Beineix’s self-conscious departure from so much dour Gallic fare in the late, fizzled-out nouvelle vague movement. (Thus was launched the “cinéma du look,” not coincidentally birthed around the same time as MTV.) Diva’s a generational landmark in French cinema, not always coherent or logical, but filled with moments of offhand beauty. Certainly, the aria “Ebben? Ne andro lontana” from Catalani’s La Wally, sung in the film by Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez, has never gotten so much respect—before or since. Continues through Thurs., Jan. 10.

Dec. 28-Jan. 10, 2007

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