As part of Black History Month King’s Place, programmed a series of film screenings. On Wednesday FAB interns Almaz and Jumoke checked out Viva Riva! (Written, Directed and co-produced by Djo Mungo, 2010, Congo/96min, Lingala w/English Subtitles)
For charismatic criminal, Riva, a sudden burst of stolen wealth ignites an exhilarating, hedonistic and perilous journey through one of the most intriguing cities in Africa – Kinshasa, DR Congo.
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Jumoke: How did you find the film?
Almaz: I liked it and thought that it was well shot and directed. It was very real with lots of sex, violence and swearing. And lots of different character whose lives were intertwined.
Jumoke: It was really good film. The way the story was really, interesting really good. The things that you don’t expect to see in an African film in terms of plotting. I was sitting there in the cinema thinking that I knew what was going to happens but as the film progressed things were happing in a different way. I was like ‘Wow, that really good’. Good on the team for the storyline.
Almaz: Many cultural issues were brought up in a not so subtle way. Firstly, there was the Angolans versus Congolese issue….
Jumoke: The way Congolese way of life was portrayed was very raw. I mean an every country there’s obviously prostitution, but they way they film portrayed Congolese women was that they’re all prostitutes. Even the commander was a lesbian – as viewers we didn’t expect that. I don’t think that they Congolese women needed to portrayed in such a way, but you know what, it’s just a film.
Almaz: The level of sex and violence was indeed shocking – murder, prostitute, brothels. It also made the sex trade look non-exploitative to women, which of course is not the case in most instances. And it made women out to be crazy sex-fiends.
Almaz: Obviously it was filmed on location in Kinshasa, and I thought that the details were very appropriately, not just in Western clothes, and not just in traditional clothes. Also I have a little gripe: How typical that the beautiful main character was light skinned.
[We both laugh]
and the crazy whore women were dark skinned!
Jumoke: I’d recommend this film, to people who are into culture and ‘real’ life.by