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Diva (Remastered Widescreen Edition) (Meridian Collection)

170 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Director Jean-Jacques Beineix launched the Cinema Du Look movement with this stylish cult thriller that remains as innovative today as when it premiered in 1981. Jules (FREDERIC ANDREI), a young postal carrier, illegally tapes a concert of a reclusive opera singer (American soprano WILHELMENA WIGGINS FERNANDEZ). Jules' attempts to woo the diva are interrupted when Taiwanese bootleggers come after the recording. His problems become worse when a prostitute slips another tape, one that incriminates a police chief, into his bag. Jules must escape the police chief, the cop's henchmen and the bootleggers to keep both precious tapes safe - and to stay alive. Featuring critically acclaimed cinematography and a celebrated chase through the Paris Metro, DIVA earned Cesar Awards for Best Music, Best Cinematography and Best Directorial Debut.

Additional Features

The release of Diva on the new Meridian imprint comes with a "director approved" transfer of the 1981 arthouse hit. Considering the somewhat grainy quality of the image (and a barely-perceptible amount of horizontal "stretching" to fit the 16x9 shape, which crops out a sliver of visual information from previous DVD releases), this will have to stand as Beineix's vision of the movie, at least for now. The sound is monaural, as was the original release, so the synth-heavy score by Vladimir Cosma, as influential in its was as Flashdance, sounds a bit tinny on modern machines. The supporting features are extensive: the notoriously cranky Beineix contributes about 20 minutes' worth of scene-specific commentary (his voice audible but dubbed into English) for some of the film, and he sits down for another 20-minute, two-part video interview, which is in English. All the interviews, which vary between English-language and French-dubbed-into-English, can be played in a row, following an annoying 6-minute "postmodern" introduction in which the interviewers tell you what you're about to see. Cosma speaks for 11 minutes about the music, cinematographer Philippe Rousselot for 6 minutes, and designer Hilton McConnico for 7 minutes. The actors are heard from: Dominique Pinon and Anny Romand speak together, Frederic Andrei and Richard Bohringer are interviewed separately (the latter describes Beineix as a "sweet schizophrenic"). Surprisingly, the best anecdotes come from a 7-minute talk with casting director Dominique Besnehard, who recalls the worrisome gap in opera star Wilhelmina Wiggins Fernandez's front teeth. --Robert Horton

Special Features

  • Digitally mastered transfer approved by Director Jean-Jacques Beineix
  • Interview with director Jean-Jacques Beineix
  • Interview with director of photography Philippe Rousselot
  • Interview with set designer Hilton McConnico
  • Additional interviews with cast and crew
  • Introduction to interviews by Phil Powrie

Product Details

  • Actors: Wilhelmenia Fernandez, Frédéric Andréi, Richard Bohringer, Thuy An Luu, Jacques Fabbri
  • Directors: Jean-Jacques Beineix
  • Writers: Jean-Jacques Beineix, Daniel Odier, Jean Van Hamme
  • Producers: Claudie Ossard, Irène Silberman, Serge Silberman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Lionsgate
  • DVD Release Date: June 3, 2008
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (170 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00166UFA2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,302 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Diva (Remastered Widescreen Edition) (Meridian Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

128 of 133 people found the following review helpful By PatrickO VINE VOICE on June 8, 2008
Format: DVD
The Anchor Bay version from 2001 is currently the best you can do with this title. I had high hopes for the new release, but was suspicious based on the awful cover art. Sure enough, they have a super-low bit rate, are actually zooming on the image in some areas and have problems with no English subtitles on some of the extras (the film is in French). I've shown the Anchor Bay version to friends in the last few years all of whom have been impressed by this clever caper from 1981. But when a company comes out with a new version (seven years after the last time Diva was released on DVD) it deserves a whole lot better than this. I second the call for the director of the film and whoever owns the rights to get it the heck away from Lion's Gate so Criterion or some decent production studio can take a crack at it. DO NOT BUY THIS EDITION.
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94 of 97 people found the following review helpful By C. Burch on May 28, 1999
Format: DVD
This stylish, hip thriller of the early 80's is a cult classic. Featuring Wilhelmenia Wiggins-Fernandez, a real-life Diva. In the film she plays Cynthia Hawkins, an opera singer who refuses to record her music.
Frédéric Andréi (Jules) is a loner messenger boy, who makes a beautiful bootleg recording of one of her recitals. He also becomes the unknowing recipient of a tape containing evidence about the Paris underworld, setting off a chain of events where everyone's motives are misunderstood.
Sad to say, this good film is seriously marred by the worst sound transfer I have ever heard on a DVD. It is muddy and indistinct, much worse than most VHS tapes. Because the voice of Wilhelmenia Wiggins-Fernandez is central to the plot, the poor audio quality makes it hard to understand why anyone would make such a fuss about recording her.
The video transfer is not great, but passable, however the audio quality seriously dimishes the impact of a good film. If you listen to the compact disk soundtrack, you'll know what you're missing. This DVD looks like it was rushed to market with very little thought or care. The film deserves a better fate.
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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By D. Hartley on June 8, 2008
Format: DVD
I know, I know: "Save your technical rants for the discussion boards!" And I usually do (in fact, I was commenter #1 for the review by "Mutantchaos" above). But since I stupidly went ahead and purchased the new Lionsgate edition anyway (after buying into the two comments that followed mine, one allegedly from Lionsgate themselves,spinning like Karl Rove, and the other from a "customer" who I am now convinced is a shill for Lionsgate) I wanted to throw in my "A-B" comparisons-as a public service.

Mutantchaos and the previous reviewer are absolutely correct regarding the picture being "cropped" on the Lionsgate disc; the Anchor Bay displays a truer 16x9 enhancement. Also, the Lionsgate was mastered with a very high contrast level, which highlights every bit of print debris, making for a distractingly grainy picture. The only "improvement" I see in the Lionsgate edition is that their transfer sports better color saturation, with more natural flesh tones; Anchor Bay's print has a slightly reddish tint overall when you compare the two. Also, I noticed that I had to really kick up the volume on the new Lionsgate disc in order to achieve comparable audio levels to the Anchor Bay edition.

One nitpicky difference I accidentally discovered as well: The Lionsgate edition appears to be newly translated for the subtitles, and it's not necessarily for the better. One scene in particular that threw up the red flag for me was a line translated by Anchor Bay as "The abyss meets the abyss"; which is very poetic. The Lionsgate version translates the same line as "The deep meets the deep." Sounds a little dumbed down, n'est ce pas?
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 2001
Format: DVD
Bravo. Anchor Bay understands why many of us are buying DVDs of films we never would have considered purchasing on video: not merely because they are available, but because of the QUALITY. Their "Diva" release is a prime example of this, and I won't bother extolling the virtues of the movie *as* a movie since the review and the other reviewers have done that so well.
I haven't seen the earlier Fox Lorber issue of "Diva", but from the reviews I read here, and from the Fox Lorber titles I unfortunately own, I can only imagine that they (Fox Lorber) did their usual criminally indifferent - or is it agressively incompetent? - job, making no attempt to clean up the image and sound on a poor-quality master, but rather doing a quick-and-dirty transfer in order to be first to market, before the public wises up.
With that as the background, then, the new Anchor Bay release of "Diva" was well worth waiting for. The image quality is simply beautiful - clean, clear and crisp, with no discernable noise, dirt, or other undesireable visual artifacts. It's comparable in quality to Paramount's superb work on the "Chinatown" DVD, or most anything in The Criterion Collection's excellent series. Another very pleasant surprise is the restored and updated sound which, on the Fox Lorber release, was rated even below the poor quality of the image. Fans of "Diva" know that it has one of the most unique and memorable soundtracks of the many memorable 1980s movie soundtracks, and I cannot remember it ever sounding better than it does on the new Anchor Bay release.
So again, thank you, Anchor Bay, for doing justice to one of my favorite films on DVD. And as for you, Fox Lorber, isn't there a better business model out there than doing violence to art for money?
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Diva (Remastered Widescreen Edition)  (Meridian Collection)
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