The ever-welcome Gerard Depardieu stars as tormented Baroque cellist Marais in the 1992 Tous les Matins du Monde (Jan. 19) looking for all the world like a bloated, rouged-up Elvis impersonator. But the connection is spurious. This is in fact a strong, serious study of artistic crisis in the 17th-century music world. Watch for Guillaume Depardieu playing the young Marais. Wrapping up the month is Jean-Jacques Beineix's 1981 classic Diva (Jan. 26). Among the attractions of this stylish thriller are an ingeniously Hitchcockian plot that intertwines opera with a drug-and-prostitution ring, an unlikely romance between an 18-year-old postman and the "aging" (32!) diva of the title, and a brilliantly kinetic chase scene in and out of the Paris Metro. Diva, while no masterpiece, is unique in satisfying fans of both haute musique and mayhem. Opera completists will find it a must, if only for Wilhelmenia Wiggins Fernandez's gorgeous rendition of an aria from Catalani's rarely revived opera La Wally. And for those who just can't stand opera, or castrati, or tortured Baroque cellists, there's always February, when the Alliance starts its "Action!" series. All screenings are Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. at the Alliance Francaise, 1345 Bush (at Larkin), S.F. Admission is $5; call 775-7755.
-- Gary Morris