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9. Diva

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A slick thriller with a good, if improbable, plot, set in Paris. It combines drama with opera (les Wallies).

Jules, a young postman, makes an illegal recording of a diva's live performance. But the tape gets switched with another tape cassette containing information of interest to the Police.

Jules has to rely for his survival on Alba, a young girl, and her mysterious and very, very cool friend - a sort of French James Bond figure who is relaxed enough to be able to fit in completing a giant jig-saw puzzle, giving instruction in the correct way to butter a baguette, and relaxing in the bath, all while chain smoking cigarettes and foiling the forces of evil with casual insouciance.

Notable for its New-Wave production values and for those who like this sort of thing, an extended motorcycle chase.

Incidentally, before casting, the producers were looking for an actress who fit the description the Diva in the original novel. What they needed was a beautiful Black American woman who could sing an operatic soprano role flawlessly, and who could speak English and French fluently. Not knowing where to start they went to the opera to see Carmen. Wilhemenia Fernandez, a perfect fit, happened to be playing the title role that night.

Genre: Thriller /Drama/ Music
Year: 1981
Runtime: 117 min (USA:123 min)
Country: France
Language: French & English
Colour: Colour (Eastmancolor)
Sound Mix: Mono
Directed by
Jean-Jacques Beineix
Writing credits
Daniel Odier (novel)
Jean-Jacques Beineix (adaptation)

Frédéric Andréi, Jules
Roland Bertin, Weinstadt
Richard Bohringer, Gorodish
Gérard Darmon, L' Antillais
Chantal Deruaz, Nadia
Jacques Fabbri, Jean Saporta
Patrick Floersheim, Zatopek
Thuy An Luu, Alba
Jean-Jacques Moreau, Krantz
Dominique Pinon, Le curé
Anny Romand, Paula
Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez, Cynthia Hawkins
Raymond Aquilon
Eugène Berthier
Gérard Chaillou

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The titles (in the US) of the best French films, sorted by title

  Title Year
8 Women2001
Music, Comedy, Crime, Mystery
François Ozon
A Heart in Winter1992
Romance, Drama, Music
Claude Sautet
Beauty and The Beast1946
Fantasy Drama, Romance
Jean Cocteau
Belle de Jour1967
Erotic Drama
Luis Buñuel
Betty Blue1986
Romace, Drama
Jean-Jacques Beineix
Birds Of A Feather1978
Edouard Molinaro
Bitter Moon1992
Sado-masochistic Erotic Drama
Roman Polanski
Drama, Romance
Jean-Luc Godard
Children of Paradise1945
Drama, Romance
Marcel Carne
10 Cyrano de Bergerac1990
Romance, Drama
Jean-Paul Rappeneau
11 Delicatessen1991
Sci-Fi Comedy
Marc Caro & Jean-Pierre Jeunet
12 Diva1981
Action Thriller, Drama
Jean-Jacques Beineix
13 French Twist1995
Josiane Balasko
14 Hidden2005
Michael Haneke
15 Hiroshima, Mon Amour1959
Romance, Drama
Alain Resnais
16 Jean de Florette1986
Drama, Modernised Greek Tragedy
Claude Berri
17 Jesus of Montreal1989
Denys Arcand
18 Jules et Jim1961
Romance, Drama
François Truffaut
19 La Controverse de Valladolid1992
History (16thC), Drama
Jean-Daniel Verhaeghe
20 La Femme Nikita1990
Crime, Thriller, Romance, Drama
Luc Besson
21 Manon of the Spring1986
Drama, Romance, modernised Greek Tragedy
Claude Berri
22 Monsieur Hire1989
Crime Thriller, Romance, Drama
Patrice Leconte
23 My Life in Pink1997
Comedy Drama
Alain Berliner
24 One Swallow Brought Spring2001
Comedy, Romance, Drama
Christian Carion
25 Queen Margot1994
History (16thC) Drama, Biography, History, Romance
Patrice Chéreau
26 Ridicule1996
History (18thC) Drama
Patrice Leconte
27 Swimming Pool2003
Psychological Thriller, Mystery Drama
François Ozon
28 The 400 Blows1959
Crime Drama
François Truffaut
29 The Big Blue1988
Drama, Romance
Luc Besson
30 The City of Lost Children1995
Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro
31 The Closet2001
Comedy Drama
Francis Veber
32 The Discrete Charm of the Bougoisie1972
Surreal Black Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
Luis Buñuel
33 The Dominici Affair1973
Crime Drama Mystery
Claude Bernard-Aubert
34 The Double Life of Veronique1991
Music, Fantasy, Romance, Psychological Drama
Krzysztof Kieslowski
35 The Fabulous Destiny of Amelie Poulain2001
Comedy, Romance, Drama
Jean-Pierre Jeunet
36 The Girl On The Bridge1999
Comedy, Romance, Fantasy, Drama
Patrice Leconte
37 The Hate1995
Crime, Drama
Mathieu Kassovitz
38 The Last Metro1980
Romance, History (WW2) Drama
François Truffaut
39 The Piano Teacher2001
Drama, Music
Michael Haneke
40 The Reader1988
Mildly Erotic Comedy Fantasy
Michel Deville
41 The Return of Martin Guerre1982
History (16thC) Drama, Biography, Crime, Mystery,
Daniel Vigne
42 The Visitors1993
Fantasy, Comedy
Jean-Marie Poiré
43 Three Colors: Blue1993
Drama, Music, Mystery, Romance
Krzysztof Kieslowski
44 Three Colors: Red1994
Drama, Mystery, Romance
Krzysztof Kieslowski
45 Three Colors: White1994
Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Romance
Krzysztof Kieslowski

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