Thursday, March 24, 2011

SXSW 2011 -- Viva Riva!

Riva Viva!
Dir. Djo Tunda Wa Munga

Synopsis: The first major film out of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Viva Riva! follows fast-living hustler Riva.  While being persued by Kinshasa's dangerous underworld, Riva finds himself inextricable drawn to a gangster's seductive, kept woman. (This festival was it's US Premier, although, I wasn't at the actual premier showing).

Viva Riva! was an interesting movie to wander into.  For being the first movie out of this country, it was an amazing first film effort.  I found it amazing that he was actually able to get it funded due to its very graphic nature.  But apparently, according to him, he opted to not let investors (esp the gov't) in on the entire contents of the film.  Which is a ballsy move, but you have to have juevos to make it in the film industry.  So, more power to him.  I just hope he didn't burn every funding bridge along the way, and will never make a movie there again.

At any rate, this movie, as I've noted before, was a very graphic movie.  You'll witness everything from a woman peeing outside a party to the lead characters indulging in some prostitutes.  So, this movie is definitely not for the conservatives.  Since the synopsis doesn't really tell too much, I'll fill in some of the holes.  The movie follows a guy who has stolen a truck full of barrels of gasoline and taken it to his home town for someone else to sell.  For the time being, he lives richly and indulges in nearly every sin his money can get.  While he's at it, he is joined by a married friend, and he keeps making eyes with the gangster's girl.  So, he's stirred up trouble with the gang in town and the oil guys who send some hit men to bring the oil back.

So, what did I learn about filmmaking from this movie?  Well, first off, the ideas of beauty in the Congo and here are not too different.  Our guys both like curvy women with big lips that look a lot like Beyonce.  A common idea this movie explores, that seems like a theme that cannot be over-done, is the whole idea that wealth brings corruption.  You never see someone in a movie get rich, and then live to be a good person and help others.  I mean, that would be boring.  So, there's a reason for it, but still.  Money always is a person's downfall.  Other than that, I liked the color choices for costuming.

Run Time 96 min + 3117 = 3213

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