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Aria (film)

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Comedy, Drama, Music



United Kingdom

Aria (film) movie poster

Italian, French, German

Robert AltmanBruce BeresfordBill BrydenJean-Luc GodardDerek JarmanFranc RoddamNicolas RoegKen RussellCharles SturridgeJulien Temple

Release date
15 September, 1987

Un Ballo in Maschera (RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra feat conductor: Erich Leinsdorf)

(King Zog), (Lover), (Preston), (Marietta),
Stephanie Lane
(Baroness), (The Actor)

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Ten great directors. One unforgettable film. The most sensual experience you'll ever have in a movie theater.

Aria is a 1987 British anthology film produced by Don Boyd from Virgin Group's visual section consisting of ten short films by a variety of directors. It was entered into the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.


Aria (film) movie scenes

Each segment features its director's visual accompaniment to arias and scenes from operas. Each film has minimal dialogue (most have none at all), with most of the spoken content being the operas' lyrics (libretto) in Italian, French, or German.

Aria (film) movie scenes

The music archive source was RCA Red Seal Records (which at the time included Erato Records, a label which later went to Warner Music; RCA is now a part of Sony Music Entertainment, further complicating the film's music rights).

Aria (film) wwwgstaticcomtvthumbmovieposters10042p10042

Siskel ebert aria 1987


Aria (film) Explore the collection Features Don Boyds Aria The Bill

The opening credits are set to the overture to Giuseppe Verdi's La traviata.

Un ballo in maschera

Aria (film) BAM Aria

A fictionalised account of a 1931 assassination attempt on King Zog I of Albania, notable for his shooting back at his would-be assassins and surviving. (In the actual attempt, King Zog was leaving a performance of Pagliacci.)

Aria (film) Aria 1987 YouTube

  • Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi
  • Extracts: Prelude, "Re dell' abisso", "Di che fulgor che musiche", "La rivedra nell'estasi", "Ebben si t'amo", "Mezza notte", "O giustizia del fato"
  • Sung by Leontyne Price, Carlo Bergonzi, Robert Merrill, Shirley Verrett, Reri Grist; conducted by Erich Leinsdorf
  • Directed by Nicolas Roeg
  • Starring Theresa Russell
  • Running time: 14 minutes
  • "La vergine degli angeli" from La forza del destino

    Aria (film) Aria 1987 Soundview Media Partners LLC

    Two London teenage girls and a young boy steal a car.

    Aria (film) Teen Movie Critic

  • Music composed by Giuseppe Verdi
  • Sung by Leontyne Price; conducted by Thomas Schippers
  • Directed by Charles Sturridge
  • Starring Nicola Swain, Jackson Kyle, Marianne McLaughlin
  • Running time: 5 minutes
  • Armide

    Aria (film) Aria Film Cinemade

    Two young women try to attract the attention of oblivious bodybuilders, eventually stripping off.

  • Music composed by Jean-Baptiste Lully
  • Extracts: "Ah! Si la liberté me doit être l'Amour", "Enfin, il est en ma puissance", "Venez,venez, Haine implacable"
  • Libretto by Philippe Quinault
  • Performed by Rachel Yakar, Zeger Vandersteene, Danielle Borst; conducted by Philippe Herreweghe
  • Directed by Jean-Luc Godard
  • Starring Valérie Allain and Marion Peterson
  • Running time: 11 minutes
  • Rigoletto

    A bedroom farce set in San Luis Obispo's famous Madonna Inn, in which a movie producer cheats on his wife unaware that she, too, is there with a clandestine lover of her own.

  • Music by Giuseppe Verdi
  • Extracts: "Questa o quella", "Gualtier Maldè... caro nome", "La donna è mobile", "Addio, addio"
  • Sung by Robert Merrill, Anna Moffo, Alfredo Kraus; conducted by Georg Solti
  • Directed by Julien Temple
  • Written by Charlie Coffey
  • Starring Buck Henry and Beverly D'Angelo
  • Running time: 14 minutes
  • "Glück, das mir verblieb" from Die tote Stadt

    A look at the seemingly-dead city of Bruges, Belgium. Scenic footage of the empty streets and cemeteries is intercut with a duet of two lovers, providing counterpoint to the dead city.

  • Music composed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
  • Sung by Carol Neblett and René Kollo; conducted by Erich Leinsdorf
  • Directed by Bruce Beresford
  • Starring Elizabeth Hurley and Peter Birch
  • Running time: 5 minutes
  • Abaris ou les Boréades

    A re-creation of opening night at Paris's Théâtre Le Ranelagh in 1734. The audience is filled with a raffish assortment of inmates from an asylum.

  • Music composed by Jean-Philippe Rameau
  • Libretto by Louis de Cahusac
  • Extracts:Entr'acte – "Suite des vents", "Nuit redoutable! ... Lieu désolé", "Jouissons, jouissons! Jouissons de nos beaux ans"
  • Performed by Jean-Philippe Lafont, Philip Langridge, John Aler; conducted by John Eliot Gardiner
  • Directed by Robert Altman
  • Starring Julie Hagerty, Geneviève Page, Sandrine Dumas, Chris Campion
  • Running time: 7 minutes
  • "Liebestod" from Tristan und Isolde

    Two young lovers arrive in Las Vegas. After driving down Fremont Street, they check into a cheap hotel room where they unsuccessfully try to commit suicide following the consummation of their relationship.

  • Music composed by Richard Wagner
  • Sung by Leontyne Price; conducted by Henry Lewis
  • Directed by Franc Roddam
  • Starring Bridget Fonda in her first credited film role.
  • Running time: 7 minutes
  • "Nessun dorma" from Turandot

    After a car crash, a lovely young girl imagines her body is being adorned by jewels mirroring her injuries, in a tribal ritual parallel to the procedures of the surgical team treating her, until she wakes up in the operating room after resuscitation.

  • Music composed by Giacomo Puccini
  • Sung by Jussi Björling; conducted by Erich Leinsdorf
  • Directed by Ken Russell
  • Starring Linzi Drew
  • Running time: 7 minutes
  • "Depuis le jour" from Louise

    A veteran opera singer gives her final performance, intercut by 8mm home movies of an early love affair.

  • Music composed by Gustave Charpentier
  • Sung by Leontyne Price; conducted by Francesco Molinari-Pradelli
  • Directed by Derek Jarman
  • Starring Tilda Swinton
  • Running time: 6 minutes
  • "Vesti la giubba" from Pagliacci

    A virtuoso remembers his career while arriving at an opera house, visiting the dressing room to put on his clown makeup, and performing the aria for his audience of one. (This story provides a vague framing narrative to link together the other segments.)

  • Music composed by Ruggero Leoncavallo
  • Sung by Enrico Caruso
  • Directed by Bill Bryden
  • Written by Bill Bryden and Don Boyd
  • Starring John Hurt and Sophie Ward
  • Running time: 4 minutes
  • The closing credits, after replaying a small excerpt of each of the ten operas, are again set to the overture to Giuseppe Verdi's La traviata, thus finally closing the cycle.

    Critical response

  • The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival (won that year by Sous le soleil de Satan).
  • Guerand, Jean-Philippe. In: Première (France). (MG), June 1987, p. 17
  • Godard, Jean-Luc. "Jean-Luc Godard par Jean-Luc Godard", vol. 2, 1984–1998. Cahiers du cinéma, 1998, 2866421981
  • Leonard Maltin from his guide: "BOMB (i.e.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. Roddam's bittersweet Las Vegas fable (set to Tristan und Isolde), Beresford's sweet and simple rendering of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Die tote Stadt are among the better segments—relatively speaking. A pitiful waste of talent."
  • References

    Aria (film) Wikipedia
    Aria (film) IMDbAria (film) Rotten TomatoesAria (film)