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Viva Riva!
     

Viva Riva!

Director: Djo Tunda Wa Munga,

Cast: Djo Tunda Wa Munga, Patsha Bay, Manie Malone, Hoji Fortuna

 
A small-time hustler thinks he's got a big score ahead of him if he can stay out of the way of some underworld rivals in this stylish action drama from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Riva (Patsha Bay Mukana) is a guy who is smart, ambitious, and willing to bend the rules, but he hasn't made much of a windfall from his talents

Overview

A small-time hustler thinks he's got a big score ahead of him if he can stay out of the way of some underworld rivals in this stylish action drama from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Riva (Patsha Bay Mukana) is a guy who is smart, ambitious, and willing to bend the rules, but he hasn't made much of a windfall from his talents until he pilfers a stockpile of gasoline from a group of Angolans. Since fuel is hard to find, Riva knows he can move the gas for a premium price; however, he's not the only one who is looking to make some fast money off the petrol; a gangster named César (Hoji Fortuna) soon turns up with his thugs, claiming ownership of the fuel and plotting violent revenge against Riva by blackmailing a local woman, Commandante (Marlene Longange). Meanwhile, Riva's eyes fall on Nora (Manie Malone), the mistress of local thug Azor (Diplome Amekindra), and he attempts to steal her away, thereby putting his own safety on the line. Viva Riva! earned enthusiastic reviews after its North American premiere at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
Directed as a sophomore effort by Djo Tunda Wa Munga, the Belgian-French-Congolese co-production Viva Riva! is a tough, lean, gritty, and cunningly plotted adrenaline rush -- a lightning-paced gauntlet through the streets, homes, and back alleys of the Congo that never stops to take a breath as its characters attempt to dodge bullets and beatings. Patsha Bay stars as Riva, a cocky yet likable hood who siphons a cache of fuel from a group of Angolans, thereby contributing to the local petrol shortage. He flees to the city of Kinshasa, where he plans to sell the fuel and make a fortune. But he's earned the wrath of a blood-hungry Angolan gangster named César (Hoji Fortuna), who claims ownership of the gasoline and feels enraged by the young man's thievery. On the side, César has kidnapped a young girl, and leverages this to his advantage by blackmailing the girl's sister -- a local woman in the Congolese military named Commandante (Marlene Longange) -- to obtain knowledge of Riva's whereabouts. Meanwhile, Riva falls hard for Nora (Manie Malone), the sultry mistress of violent thug Azor (Diplome Amekindra), and thinks nothing of attempting to steal her away from her psychopathic lover. Within the framework of a crime thriller, Riva delivers. Individual sequences are uniformly slick, tense, and exciting. It takes Munga about 15 or 20 minutes to set up the intersecting story threads, but once he does, his steps never falter. He uses graphic violence and sex to particularly jarring effect. The beatings are appropriately brutal and sadistic, with original touches such as a scene where César pours the hot ashes from a fire over a victim's face after failing to get what he wants. The sexuality waxes erotic and equally offbeat, as in a scene where Riva and Nora have oral sex through an opening in a wrought-iron gate. However, one keeps wishing for Munga to transcend the limitations of the film's genre. We can give the movie its due, but its highlights are the fundamental ingredients of exploitation films, and we never quite forget that. Aside from the presence of Nora, the picture isn't driven by multidimensional characterizations; instead, it seems guided entirely by the conventions of a thousand other crime pictures. Nor is it culturally specific enough -- with the combination of action and indigenous elements (and a similar tone), Munga may have been hoping for something like a Congolese version of Perry Henzell's The Harder They Come. But Viva Riva! lacks the cultural specificity of that work and strikes more universal tones that could equally apply to any Third World setting. Therefore, the film -- though enjoyable and involving enough on its own terms -- represents something of a missed opportunity.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/27/2011
UPC:
0736211212559
Original Release:
2010
Rating:
R
Source:
Music Box Films
Time:
1:36:00
Sales rank:
71,845

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Patsha Bay Riva
Manie Malone Nora
Hoji Fortuna Cesar
Marlene Longange Commandante
Alex Herbo J.M.
Diplome Amekindra Azor
Angelique Mbumba Malou
Nzita Tumba Mere Edo
Jordan N'Tunga Anto

Technical Credits
Djo Tunda Wa Munga Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Benoit Biral Sound/Sound Designer
Congopunq Score Composer
Manu De Boissieu Sound/Sound Designer
Michael Goldberg Producer
Michael Goldberg Producer
Thomas Jaubert Production Manager
Yves Langlois Editor
Steven Markovitz Co-producer
Laura Ozier Makeup
Antoine Roch Cinematographer
Marianne Roussy Sound/Sound Designer
Boris Van Gils Producer
Philippe Van Herwijnen Production Designer
Louis Vyncke Score Composer
Cédric Zoenen Sound/Sound Designer

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