Daily News header

Viva Riva! Congolese Film Review

By     get stories by email

Kinshasa Serves as Setting for Congo Gangsta Flick

Drugs may be the contraband of choice in most modern, American crime capers, but this African adventure revolves around a present-day black market in petroleum.

The picture's protagonist is Riva (Patsha Bay), a petty thief who has commandeered a truckload of gasoline across the Angolan border into the Congo with plans to resell it in his hometown of Kinshasa where the populace is in the grips of an oil shortage.

The trouble is that he isn't quite ready to rise to his calling as a crook, for he soon becomes beguiled by Nora (Manie Malone), the red-headed, gun moll of a local mobster (Diplome Amekindra). And while he allows himself to be led around by the loins, he soon lands on the radar of her jealous boyfriend as well as a policewoman (Marlene Longange) and an angry Angolan crime boss (Hoji Fortuna) determined to recover his pilfered petrol.

Winner of a half-dozen African Movie Academy Awards, Viva Riva! marks the promising scriptwriting, directorial and producing debut of Djo Munga. The movie is most reminiscent of all those cheap-lookingblaxploitation flicks made by gangsta rappers searching for some crossover appeal back in the Nineties.

Given the omnipresence of such genre trademarks as graphic nudity and gratuitous violence, Viva Riva! certainly manages to keep your attention riveted to the screen. And since it simultaneously serves up a compelling storyline and does a decent job of character development, it's worth checking out just based on the rarity of a movie with an empathetic black protagonist even being made about the Congo.

The un-Tarzan!

Very Good (3 stars)

Unrated

In French and Lingala with subtitles

Running time: 96 Minutes

Distributor: Music Box Films

To see a trailer for Viva Riva, visit:

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze.

  Please click this get stories by email button to be notified about future stories, and please leave a comment below.

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

There were no upsets in terms of the major categories, with Julianne Moore (Still Alice) and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) prevailing in the lead acting categories, as expected
Kung Fu Elliot is a kickboxer on a desperate quest to be star. He ropes his girlfriend in to his delusional scheme and the question is, can the relationship last longer than the dream.
We see a procession of movies about artists throughout history suffering for their art, rarely are there sightings of the women in their lives made to suffer too.
Here are the top DVD releases for this week, starting with Whiplash, and just the right time for a fond farewell to the love month of February 2015!
Chris Elliott talks to Prairie Miller about The Rewrite, nutty jobs he's had just to get by, other fellow funny guys who've inspired him, and getting stoned on Groundhog Day.
Will was as eager to share enlightening information, as much about getting into the trickster head of his artful dodger character Nicky, as what he learned about himself.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month


Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

landing page ad

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site