Posts tagged "Jordan N’Tunga"

Viva Riva!

Viva Riva!

Viva Riva
2010
Written and directed by Djo Munga (as Djo Tunda Wa Munga)
Viva Riva
The chaotic urban life of Kinshasa, the largest city in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is the setting as rival factions battle over a cache of stolen fuel. Viva Riva! is a great film, among the best I’ve seen in African cinema. While the stereotypes for African films are weird Nigerian/Ghanaian films involving witchcraft, there is a diverse blend of film being produced that deserves a wider audience, and more funding to produce even higher quality cinema.

Gasoline thief Riva returns to Kinshasa with a truck full of pilfered fuel in the midst of the biggest gas shortage in ages. This basically means he gets a huge stack of cash – and the promise of much more, as his fencer is holding off selling the gas until the price goes up even higher! The large amount of American hundred dollar bills gives Riva access to a fast life that most of poor Kinshasa can only dream of. Riva likes the parties and money and being flashy, it is not in his nature to live in the shadows, but to be large.
Viva Riva
Riva’s excess and extravaganza lures past associates to his side. His friend J.M. had settled down from his criminal past, having a family. But Riva’s return means J.M. is now going out all night, drinking and whoring it up. Riva sets his sights on a red headed beauty, Nora, who happens to be the kept girl of the local big criminal thug Azor. Despite the dangers, Riva continually pops up to hit on Nora. His success is due in part to Azor’s own failure, though Nora is far more complicated than just a prize to be fought for. But Nora and Azor are the least of Riva’s troubles, as he is being pursued by a violent and relentless opponent named César.

Viva Riva! excels by having a villain who is thoroughly ruthless, destroying anyone who stands between him and his goal, the gasoline that Riva stole from him. César dresses in all white, wears a fancy hat and wire-rimmed glasses, and speaks calmly, looking the part of an upper class intellectual. Despite the appearances, César is an efficient and brutal boss, quick to order torture and deaths to get to his gas. César manipulates and bribes his way through officials, forcing a female militia commander to help him by holding her sister hostage, and gunning down government officials who detain him over immigration reasons. A cunning and sadistic mastermind helps create a memorable foe.
Viva Riva

Riva (Patsha Bay as Patsha Bay Mukuna) – Riva used to work for César, but has struck out on his own in a very big way. Riva is in a self-destructive spiral while on the cusp of becoming very very rich thanks to a shipment of gasoline he stole. Riva likes parties and money and being flashy, and of course he has a tragic past which has resulted in his living for the now attitude. You can’t run from your past forever.
Nora (Manie Malone) – A kept woman of the local bad dude Azor, which is a pattern she’s followed since her school days. Riva sets out to make her his despite the ridiculous danger of courting the woman of the local bad dude. Unlike most of the other characters, she came from a relatively stable home, but still managed a fall from grace.
César (Hoji Fortuna) – A well-dressed man from Angola, who is in Congo searching for Riva and the shipment of gasoline he stole from him. Is not the kind of guy you cross without horrific consequences for you and everyone in the path between him and you.
La Commandante (Marlene Longange) – Marlene Longange’s female commander (she’s just called La Commandante without an actual name) is roped in to help César due to him holding her sister hostage. Through this, she ends up becoming a wanted fugitive and her life is ruined.
J.M. (Alex Herabo) – Riva’s old friend who was living the family life before Riva blew back into his life, J.M. all to eager to return to the fast lane of drugs and prostitutes and crime.

Viva Riva
Read more…

Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - January 5, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Categories: Good, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,