Aria (1987)

Aria (1987).

Ten directors provide ten short music videos set to opera music. Three are from Verdi.

I don't know much opera but wish I did, so I depend on anthologies like this for culture exposure. I figure: ten selections in 1h28m, how painful can any one be, right?

I won't describe them all; you can see the details in the wikpedia article.

I saw this back when and the one that stunned me was Ken Russell's surreal dream fantasy of a woman being dressed in gems for strange gods:

...who we come to see are the operating room staff after her car accident.

The music is Puccini's "Nessun dorma" from Turandot. I first heard that done by Pavarotti in his movie Yes, Giorgio (1982). Dopey film, but the closing opera segment just floored me. "Nessun dorma" became much more famous later, beaten to death by the Three Tenors and others.

I suppose that happens to all good opera tunes eventually; you heard the "Flower Duet" from Lakmé everywhere a few years ago.

Several of the directors make free use of the casual nudity common in 1980s film. It's artistic!

Other memorable segments:

We have first film credits for Bridget Fonda and Elizabeth Hurley, both in their birthday suits.

John Hurt provides the framing story of a singer preparing for his performance, the last segment.

The anthology is not very well-liked. Leonard Maltin (TM) says:


BOMB (0/4). Godawful collection of short films, each one supposedly inspired by an operatic aria. Precious few make sense, or even seem to match the music; some are downright embarrassing. A pitiful waste of talent.

Available on DVD.