His world is that of a gay drag club where the queens dress fantastically to sing on stage the eternally famous songs of passion love and betrayal. Jesus scrapes by on the streets, barely, and sometimes sells his body.
But at the club when he sings there is a special time always and it appears he could have a career there.Suddenly his long gone father returns. A brutal man who deserted Jesus who barely remembers him.
The father is gravely ill, has no money and proceeds to forbid Jesus from performing his stage act. This is truly a family from hell and we wonder how the beautiful sensitive young teen Jesus can ever survive.
A really good film, wonderful acting, great idea.
"Viva" was Ireland's Official Oscar entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category and it made the 9-film shortlist out of 80 submissions for the 88th Academy Awards.
From the Sundance catalog:
Veteran director Paddy Breathnach's Viva first transported audiences to the vibrant world of Havana's drag scene at the Telluride Film Festival. We are thrilled to welcome Breathnach back to the Sundance Film Festival.
Jesus has spent most of his young adult life styling wigs at a drag club in Havana, longing for a purpose other than the pennies he scrapes together in the shadows of his surroundings. When Jesus is offered the chance to perform amongst the other queens, the cruel winds of fate bring his estranged, abusive father back into his life after 15 years. What unfolds is a bittersweet story of pain, regret, and reconciliation. As the two men’s lives violently collide, they are forced to grapple with their conflicting views.
Laced with the raw passion and drama of drag, director Paddy Breathnach and writer Mark O’Halloran bring Viva to life with exquisite tenderness. Actors Jorge Perugoría and Héctor Medina fill this wrenching love story with a raw humanity that runs beyond the confines of the screen. With a resounding case for compassion, Viva illuminates the oft-devastating path of family, neglect, and resolution.
Paddy Breathnach’s first feature, Ailsa, won Best First/Second Film at the San Sebastian Film Festival. His second feature, I Went Down (1998 Sundance Film Festival), won Best New Director prize at the San Sebastian Film Festival, Best Director award at the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, and Best Film at the Bogota International Film Festival. His comedy, Man About Dog, became one of the most successful independent Irish films. Breathnach directs both documentaries and dramas.