Viva Riva! (15)
Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Jun 21 2011This trashy but engaged Congolese exploitation thriller swept the board at the African Movie Academy Awards in Nigeria this year. It’s made by Djo Tunda Wa Munga, a Belgian-trained Congolese filmmaker and is remarkable both for coming from a country not known for producing films and for trying to mix extreme genre stylings with acute observations on a country emerging from years of war. It’s loud, fast and crude – and if you haven’t seen a woman receive oral sex through the iron bars of a ground-floor window, now’s your chance…
There’s a fuel crisis in Kinshasa, and Riva (Patsha Bay) is a hustler, a charming player with his eyes on a supply of petrol from Angola. But everybody wants a piece of the pie – gangster César (Hoji Fortuna), crime boss Azor (Diplome Amekindra) and soldier Nora (Manie Malone), and even the nuns aren’t afraid of a bit of wheeling and dealing. Our guide is JM (Alex Herabo), Riva’s old friend, whom he drags away from family for an odyssey in the Congolese capital. Much of the film is crass. But still Munga doesn’t shrink from painting Congo as the seventh circle of hell, and his frenetic story is interesting in its promises of big deals, new lives and sexier women – the ambitions of weak men who think with their genitals, fuelled by greed. You’ll need some patience to wrangle with this conflicted beast, but it’s never dull.
Author: Dave Calhoun