Dec 062020

Even with the uncomfortable relationship between an adult and teen (or even pre-teen), Diva is still a unique and entertaining oddball of a drama-thriller featuring some wonderful cinematography.




Genre(s): Suspense/Thriller, Drama
Kino Lorber | NR – 117 min. – $29.95 | August 18, 2020

Date Published: 12/06/2020 | Author: The Movieman

Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix
Writer(s): Daniel Odler (novel); Jean-Jacques Beineix & Jean Van Hamme (screenwriter)
Cast: Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez, Frédéric Andréi, Richard Bohringer, Thuy An Luu

Features: Commentary, Interviews, Theatrical Trailer
Slip Cover: No
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1

Audio: French (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.66
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 40.69 GB
Total Bitrate: 41.29 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Kino Lorber provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 3½/5

Plot Synopsis: A young mail carrier, Jules (FRÉDÉRIC ANDRÉI), becomes entranced with the voice of American diva Cynthia Hawkins (WILHELMENIA WIGGINS FERNANDEZ). She doesn’t believe in being recorded, but Jules secretly records her singing on a tape. The Taiwanese want it to pressure Cynthia to sign a record deal. Meanwhile, his recording gets mixed up with another tape that incriminates a police chief, who is working with the mob. Jules quickly becomes the target of mob gangsters, and he must find a way to get himself out of the situation alive.

Quick Hit Review: When you read the synopsis, it just sounds pretty silly. And while it is a tad ridiculous, I couldn’t help but be sucked in to the story and characters, even when their situations can be a bit skeevy, particularly a relationship between a man in his 30s with a girl who is maybe 14, which does pale in comparison to the idea a famous person would befriend a fan who stole her dress and subsequently hired a prostitute to wear it and, presumably, have sex with her (not shown on screen, nor any sexual activity between the adult and teenager). Those two elements, the former in particular, did take my rating down a bit. I know it’s the sexually liberated France in the early 80s, still makes a tad uncomfortable, especially given the guy is kind of a hero, or at least does save Jules in the end.

Beyond that, however, there is a certain charm to the film. The relationship between Jules and Cynthia, although a little odd, felt genuine in their few scenes together. The acting, as far as I could tell being a foreign film, was pretty solid from all involved. In addition, the cinematography showcasing Paris, was beautiful, with incredible shots that were mightily impressive, frame-worthy in some instances I would say.



Audio Commentary – Film Critic/Author Simon Abrams

Scene-Specific Commentary – Director Jean-Jacques Beineix

Introduction to “Search for Diva” (6:21) by Professor Phil Powrie and Eric Grinda


  • Holding Ground (11:01) and In the Café (8:33) – Director Jean-Jacques Beneiz
  • Composer Vladimir Cosma (10:47)
  • Casting Director Dominique Besnehard (7:20)
  • Actor Frédéric Andréi (5:47)
  • Actors Anny Romand and Dominique Pinon (12:02)
  • Actor Richard Bohringer (6:55)
  • Cinematographer Philippe Rousselot (6:05)
  • Set Designer Hilton McConnico (6:50)

Not sure how many of these are new but love seeing the studio get this many participants to discuss the production and looking back on their respective roles or parts. Plus we get some of the behind-the-scenes turmoil (both during and post release).

Trailer (2:52)


VIDEO – 4¾/5

Diva makes its Blu-ray debut here in North America, shown in its original 1.66 widescreen aspect ratio and with a great 1080p high-definition transfer. Since there is no mention on the back cover, I assume the picture was provided by StudioCanal, but wherever it came from, the video looks fantastic with sharp detail and a nicely balance in the colors, some of it popping against darker backgrounds. I also did not detect any artifacting, aliasing or other flaws, even upon a little closer inspection while getting screen grabs for this review.

AUDIO – 4/5

The disc includes a French language DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track. Dialogue does come through with nice clarity and some respectable depth for assorted scenes, most notably the Paris Metro chase sequence. Not outstanding but considering its age and limited channels, a fine lossless track.


OVERALL – 3¾/5

Even with the uncomfortable relationship between an adult and teen (or even pre-teen), Diva is still a unique and entertaining oddball of a drama-thriller featuring some wonderful cinematography and a different viewpoint of Paris than I’ve seen or noticed before. The Blu-ray released by Kino Lorber has great video and audio transfers and a good number of features.


 12/06/2020  Blu-ray Reviews, Quick Hit Reviews Tagged with:

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