Aria (film)


Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by Don Boyd
Written by
Music by
Cinematography Christopher Hughes
Edited by Neil Abrahamson
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates
  • 15 September 1987 (1987-09-15)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language Italian

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.[1]

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.

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).


Un ballo in maschera

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.)

"La vergine degli angeli" from La forza del destino

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


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


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.

"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 counter-point to the dead city.

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.

"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.

"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.

"Depuis le jour" from Louise

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

"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.)

Critical response


  1. "Festival de Cannes: Aria". Retrieved 19 July 2009.

External links

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