Diva is a film that is different from the main stream. It is in reality simply a mystery thriller with a well-written comic plot. From that point of view it can not be said to be an intellectual film it is very much a main stream production. However whilst not an intellectual film it is a intelligent film.
The plot is multi dimensional. A courier secretly tapes the performance of a reclusive opera star. The opera star has never allowed her work to be copied so that the tape is immensely valuable. At the same time a dying woman puts into the couriers bag a tape which holds the clue to a major corruption scandal. The film is about the pursuit of the courier by two lots of villains, one chasing the recording the others chasing the tape.
Introduced into the mix is the character of a detective figure who is unlike the conventional action hero as one can be. A character who is obsessed with a Zen like philosophy, who lives in a huge bar apartment and does incredibly complex jigsaw puzzles and who makes strange speeches on the art of buttering the baguette.
Rather than the film being powered by a simple plot each scene is carefully crafted both to develop the narrative of the film and also to illustrate the feel of the film and to define the characters. The opening scene is a glorious aria from the rather obscure opera La Wally. The aria is one of subtle beauty and gravity and it is sung by the Diva of the title who is a woman of incredible attractiveness.
The key of course is that the film is entertaining and keeps one interested, as it does not use the normal formulas and resolutions of conventional mysteries. It is rather an entry into a slightly strange surreal world. Although France makes its share of dud films, films like this give it the reputation of a country which makes films which are more enjoyable than those released by the mainstream.