Diva director dies, 75

Diva director dies, 75


norman lebrecht

January 16, 2022

The French film director Jean-Jacques Beineix, mastermind of the 1981 cult film Diva, has died at the age of 75.

Visually inspired, it’s about a Paris postman obsessed with an opera singer.


  • V. Lind says:

    One of the most breathtaking films I have ever seen. I read a few days ago about Beneix’s death, and have Diva earmarked for a rewatch — it was so exciting and memorable I have never watched it again since it first came out. I have a very short list of films I loved so much I never rewatched them, but have lately decided to get on with it.

  • ira says:

    wilhelmina fernandez was the diva

    • V. Lind says:

      Wilhelminia (Wiggins) Fernandez. Saw her in concert once. Must say she struck me as nothing special, but she may just have been having an off night.

  • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:

    I remember this movie. It was fun, but the fact that the love-interest was an opera singer didn’t have much to do with it. It would have been the same movie if she had been a tv actress.

    • V. Lind says:

      The issue of a recorded voice was central to the film. That the boy wanted to have it recorded speaks to his passion for opera and his obsession with this particular artist, and the fact that people wanted to steal it spoke to it as a commercial entity, and the fact that the singer was hung up regarding recording was an interesting quirk of an opera diva.

      What could they have done with a TV actress: put “no residuals” in her contract? Not likely, on many counts.

  • Donald Wright says:

    Diva: one of my favorite films of all time. I own it, and have seen it at least 10 times, and now want to see it again. RIP, Beineix.

  • Anonymous Bosch says:

    Beinex was a magnificent filmmaker in the « ciméma-du-look » genre of the 1980s. While I adore « Diva » (and even got Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez to autograph my LP of the soundtrack after a New York City Opera « La bohème » in which she sang Musetta), he will probably be best remembered in the film community for the BAFTA- and Oscar-nominated « 37° 2 le matin » which is definitely worth seeing!

  • Herr Doktor says:

    I just finished reading Isabel Wilkerson’s book “Caste” (which is an absolutely revelatory book for those of you looking for a game-changing read, and which should be mandatory reading in the U.S. because it brilliantly explains the current political situation).

    At the end of the book, Wilkerson talks about the movie “Diva” and how the opera singer in the movie was an incredible role model for her and made such a strong impression on her when she was young.

    And the reason why ties into the central thesis of the book.

  • Craig says:

    According to her autobiography, Beineix wanted Shirley Verrett to play the diva, but she declined — and later regretted it. What a diva she would have been!

  • Ira says:

    The film had some truth to it as Jessye Norman confessed there was a postman who came to her concerts via motorbike though he never stole her gown!

  • Bernard Von Herrmann says:

    Diva is one of my all time favorite French films- still elegant, funny, frightening and exhilarating after all these years (especially that chase in the Paris Metro). Sorry to hear about the director, but the great film composer Vladimir Cosma, who wrote some wonderful original music for Diva as well as adapting the operatic selections (and can be seen at the film’s beginning conducting Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez in her superlative performance of the aria from Catalani’s La Wally) is still with us. I heartily recommend seeking out his film scores.