- Year of Film
- Jean-Jacques Beineix
- Frédéric Andréi, Wiggins Fernandez, Roland Bertin, Richard Bohringer, Gérard Darmon, Chantal Deruaz, Jacques Fabbri, Patrick Floersheim, Thuy An Luu, Dominique Pinon, Dominique Besnehard
- Origin of Film
- Genre(s) of Film
- Type of Poster
- Style of Poster
- Origin of Poster
- Year of Poster
- Size (inches)
- 28 11/16" x 38 4/16"
- SS or DS
- Comedy, Romance, Opera Comedy, Romance and Murder
This is the UK quad for the release of Diva, which was the first full-length feature from Jean-Jacques Beineix, the French director whose most internationally famous film is Betty Blue (1986). Beineix is seen as the originator of the French film movement that became known as ‘cinéma du look‘, which was described as prioritising style over substance and spectacle over narrative. Luc Besson (Subway, Nikita) and Leos Carax (Les Amants du Pont-Neuf) were the other key directors and their films often featured doomed love affairs, scenes in the Paris Metro and plenty of contemporary pop-culture references.
Based on the novel of the same by Swiss author Daniel Odier the film is set in Paris and tells the story of a young mild-mannered postman called Jules (Frédéric Andréi) who has an obsession with a celebrated opera singer called Cynthia Hawkins. The singer has never had one of her performances officially recorded, believing that music like hers should only exist in the moment for the audience watching. Jules attends a performance and illicitly makes a perfect recording before meeting her backstage and stealing the dress she performed in. A few days later Jules inadvertently gets drawn into a criminal conspiracy after a desperate woman on the run from hitmen, including Dominique Pinon‘s Le curé (as seen on this poster), drops a cassette into his postbag. The tape implicates the local police chief in an international smuggling ring and soon Jules has not only the hitmen after him but also a shady pair of Taiwanese men who want the recording of the opera singer. Luckily, Jules has help in the form of a mysterious bohemian called Gorodish (Richard Bohringer) and his Vietnamese-French muse Alba (Thuy An Luu).
As progenitor of the ‘cinéma du look‘ movement the film is visually stunning throughout and features excellent use of several Paris locations, including a memorable chase sequence on the Metro and a great scene inside a giant abandoned factory. The story may come second to the visuals but it’s still an excellent watch and rightfully garnered plenty of critical plaudits on its release in France and then later in the US and the UK.
This UK quad was printed for the legendary British distribution (and later production) company Palace Pictures and, like their quad for Evil Dead, features a flash indicating that the film was available on video. I believe the first time this film was released in the UK was in 1982 and it’s likely that Palace gave the film a limited cinema release as well as making it available on VHS. Friend of the site John Costello confirmed that the film received a release on VHS on September 25th 1982.
The design and illustration of the poster, which is actually of a shot in the film where Jules’ bike helmet is seen on a mannequin, is credited on the poster to ‘Pens’, about whom I’ve been unable to find any details. If anyone knows more about the designer I’d appreciate the info.