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2007-11-10 - 3:07 p.m.

I remember reading about Diva when it first came out in the States--the iconic photo stills from the film (the proud title character, the Ray Ban'd henchman), seemed the epitome of all the cool, new wave-ish phenomena that existed just beyond my living room in New Jersey. I felt 89% sure that everyone outside of Bergen County dressed in shiny plastic clothes and drove Vespas.

Anyway, I never did see the movie (although I read the neon-colored paperback it was based on), and it faded out of my memory til now. Film Forum is currently showing a new 35mm print of the film, and it is definitely a film that benefits from the big screen.

It's a slight movie, all surfaces, silly plot contrivances, and badly poetic dialogue. But it's not striving to be much more than stylish and fun, and it succeeds there. The sound isn't great, but the music is beautiful: the aria "Ebben? ... Ne andro lontana" from Catalini's La Wally recurs several times and has haunted my every waking hour today (I just downloaded Maria Callas's version). And the look of wet-eyed, rapturous love that the protagonist gives his beloved diva when she sings is really quite sweet.

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