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Viva Riva

4.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Riva is a small time operator who has just returned to his hometown of Kinshasa, Congo after a decade away with a major score: a fortune in hijacked gasoline. Wads of cash in hand and out for a good time, Riva is soon entranced by beautiful night club denizen Nora, the kept woman of a local gangster. Into the mix comes an Angolan crime lord relentlessly seeking the return of his stolen shipment of gasoline. Director Djo Tunda Wa Munga s Kinshasa is a seductively vibrant, lawless, fuel-starved sprawl of shantytowns, gated villas, bordellos and nightclubs and Riva is its perfect embodiment.

Review

Viva Riva! FOUR STARS After a ten-year absence, prodigal hood Riva (Mukana) returns home to Kinshasa, Congo s capital city, flush with cash and stolen barrels of petrol. Poised to make a killing on the scarce commodity, he s distracted by an even rarer prize the ripe redhead Nora (Malone), who s the insouciant arm candy of a local thug. Stealing Nora turns out to be a cinch compared with dodging a trio of angry Angolan heavies, led by dapper don Cesar (Fortuna), who ll spare no expense nor lives to get their gas back. The first major motion picture to come out of Congo in decades happens to be one of the best neonoirs from anywhere in recent memory. Mukana s hedonistic Riva is a fascinating antihero, thrilling to watch but impossible to love, while Malone s femme fatale perfectly mixes sauciness with soulfulness. Rather than saddle the film with political portent, first-timer Djo Munga holds fast to the rules of the genre, slipping in symbolism through the back door. It s a world without innocents, where soldiers shake down civilians, priests extort gangsters, and everyone has a price. Munga s restrained, surprisingly mature visual style actually deepens the impact of Viva s swift turns to brutality, and his taste for rampant kinky sex cunnilingus through a gated window is the film s idea of a first date is a genuine turn-on. Más Riva, please. --Eric Hynes, TimeOut New York

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Patsha Bay, Manie Malone, Hoji Fortuna
  • Directors: Djo Tunda Wa Munga
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Music Box Films
  • DVD Release Date: September 27, 2011
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0058MX76Y
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,569 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Viva Riva" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray
Viva Riva is sprinting from the opening shot and never slows down; it is a riot of color that revels in the utterly corrupt marketplace of Kinshasa that ensconces local criminals, military commandants, religious figures, and seemingly every innocent bystander in the city within a corrosive web that would be depressing if it weren't one of the most entertaining films of the year. Djo Munga crafts a film with a remarkable propulsive energy that shies from nothing - violence, sex, drugs, and self-destruction are not something shown with any apology. Kinshasa is one of the largest cities in Africa (over ten million) with one of the highest murder rates in the world (112 per 100,000). It is infested with powerful gangs, a large population of street children, and cheap guns at the root of a region that has been more or less at war since the mid-1990s with every surrounding nation contributing to a smouldering conflict. This is one place where a film with brutal violence and a high body count makes complete sense. Towards that end, one could see Munga's film as exploitation if it were not so well made.

Rather, it captures a tone of brash honesty, avoiding any hand-wringing about its subject matter. This is a work about self-destructive people in one of the most dangerous urban centers on Earth, and their driving force is the internal need for security, wealth, and sex. Life is short in Kinshasa, and it behooves the young to take foolish risks; and who needs a secure future when the world is on fire anyway?

Small time thief Riva (Patsha Bay Mukuna) steals truckloads of gas from an Angolan crime boss, and returns home to throw around some cash, put away liver-bending amounts of beer, and live like a bigshot. He is the man with the fuel, and in a fuel shortage that man owns the town.
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Format: Amazon Video
The synopsis for this African tale says that Riva! is an `operator' and a man with `charm and ambition'. He actually come across as a sexist, seventies based, drug and sex addict, albeit with a bit of charm. That said Patsha Bay playing Riva! (I think you have to put an exclamation mark after his name - like on the cover) does an excellent job of making Riva! actually very real and personable, in a rounded way. He is an `operator' in the sense that he has been away in Angola making money in nefarious ways for a crime Lord. He has now returned with a load of cash and a lorry load of petroleum or gas. He wants to spend the cash on ostentatious conspicuous consumption in bars and brothels, as quickly as is humanly possible; and sell the gas to the highest bidder.

Petrol is in short supply in all of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and especially so in Kinshasa. Corruption is rife and almost everybody seems to be involved in the sex industry. The place is just a dump so going for some recreational drugs and sex is probably seen as a good antidote to the whole thing. Meanwhile Riva! Spots Nora (Manie Malone) dancing at a night club, and is smitten by her good looks and lack of clothing. It is then that he finds she is the woman of another crime boss, Azor, who is a total brute (I can't say what I want as the sensors will pick it up). He is one of those cowardly bullies who gets others to do his dirty work and treats Nora as his personal chattel.

We also have a lesbian army Commandante, who's sister has been kidnapped and she is forced to help Viva's old boss track him down. We also have the police who are corrupt, and the church who also are surprisingly corrupt. In the chase no prisoners are taken and the violence is frequent and nasty.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Viva Riva is sprinting from the opening shot and never slows down; it is a riot of color that revels in the utterly corrupt marketplace of Kinshasa that ensconces local criminals, military commandants, religious figures, and seemingly every innocent bystander in the city within a corrosive web that would be depressing if it weren't one of the most entertaining films of the year. Djo Munga crafts a film with a remarkable propulsive energy that shies from nothing - violence, sex, drugs, and self-destruction are not something shown with any apology. Kinshasa is one of the largest cities in Africa (over ten million) with one of the highest murder rates in the world (112 per 100,000). It is infested with powerful gangs, a large population of street children, and cheap guns at the root of a region that has been more or less at war since the mid-1990s with every surrounding nation contributing to a smouldering conflict. This is one place where a film with brutal violence and a high body count makes complete sense. Towards that end, one could see Munga's film as exploitation if it were not so well made.

Rather, it captures a tone of brash honesty, avoiding any hand-wringing about its subject matter. This is a work about self-destructive people in one of the most dangerous urban centers on Earth, and their driving force is the internal need for security, wealth, and sex. Life is short in Kinshasa, and it behooves the young to take foolish risks; and who needs a secure future when the world is on fire anyway?

Small time thief Riva (Patsha Bay Mukuna) steals truckloads of gas from an Angolan crime boss, and returns home to throw around some cash, put away liver-bending amounts of beer, and live like a bigshot. He is the man with the fuel, and in a fuel shortage that man owns the town.
Read more ›
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