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Two suburban couples experiment with sex, drugs and bohemia in early 1970's Los Angeles.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Anna Biller ...
Barbi / Viva
Jared Sanford ...
Mark
...
Sheila
...
Mr. Humphrey
Damon Wellner ...
Hippie
Chad England ...
Rick
Corky Parks ...
Sailor / Hot Tub Nudist
Evan Spector ...
Sailor
...
Miss Marker
...
Model (as Barbara Duffy)
...
Model (as Deirdre Gaffney)
Barry Morse ...
Sherman
Cole Chipman ...
Reeves
Rob Scott ...
Doctor
Morgan Blair ...
Man at Party
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Storyline

VIVA is about a bored housewife in 1972 who gets sucked into the sexual revolution. Abandoned by her husband, Barbi is dragged into trouble by her girlfriend, who spouts women's lib as she gets Barbi to discard her bra and go out on the town. Barbi becomes a Red Riding Hood in a sea of wolves, and quickly learns a lot more than she wanted to about nudist camps, the hippie scene, orgies, bisexuality, sadism, drugs, and bohemia. Saturated to the hilt with vibrant color and exquisite period detail, and full of the kind of innocent nude romps you see before censorship codes lifted, VIVA looks like a lost film from the late '60's, and is a tribute to the best of exploitation cinema, from Herschell Gordon Lewis' Suburban Roulette to Radley Metzger's Camille 2000. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They were housewives seeking kicks, in a world of swingers, orgies, booze and sin that was the sexual revolution!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Musical

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, nudity and some drug use | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

2 May 2008 (USA)  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Japanese Mae West in the orgy scene who says, "Murray, peel me a grape" is 'Anna Biller (I)''s mother Sumiko, dubbed by Bridget Brno. The guy at the bar in the brown plaid suit behind Rick is Anna's father Les Biller. He originally had one line as a drunk. See more »

Goofs

The $50 bill that Clyde gives to Mrs. James is clearly a modern-day "big-head" bill, not a 1970s-vintage currency. See more »

Quotes

Viva: I want to be called Viva, which in Italy means "to live." Because that's what I want to do now - to live!
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Connections

Featured in SexTV: Pornscapes/Viva/Forbidden City (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

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Written by Alan Hawkshaw
Provided by Associated Production Music LLC
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User Reviews

 
Masterpiece of Erotic Cinema
2 June 2007 | by (Cambridge, MA) – See all my reviews

In VIVA, Anna Biller, who stars as well as writes and directs, achieves what many would consider highly improbable—a genuine sexploitation film that hearkens back to that genre's golden age of the seventies but is simultaneously an art film. Indeed, VIVA is so superbly crafted that it is sure to go down as a masterpiece of erotic cinema, alongside the likes of Metzger, Sarno, Oshima, Breillat and company. Biller has made a film that not only takes place in 1972, but is so painstakingly constructed that one feels it was made in 1972, only to be released this year from some "American International Pictures" styled vault.

If that weren't enough, Biller did the art direction and costumes. Funky wood paneling, avocado macramé, blue eye shadow, shag carpeting, rust Dacron leisure suits, Lee Majors/ Evil Knievel styled jumpsuits, orgies and shady photo studios—it's all here, but don't let all of the period accuracy fool you. Andrei Tarkovsky noted there are two kinds of filmmakers – those who try and (re)create reality and those who create their own worlds; Biller is clearly in the latter camp, and she has to create a world because that is the only way she can get at the truths about relations between men and women, desire, identity, and the ravages of history on individual life.

VIVA concerns the journey of a young married woman as she explores and in turn is tried by the sexual revolution. In the opening of the film the brunette Biller and her blonde sidekick cavort with each other and their respective husbands by a suburban swimming pool. While looking at Playboy, they pose for each other as much as for their husbands. I have never seen such natural eroticism in an American film. I have never seen such healthy erotic appetite between men and women on the screen. The wives enjoy porno—with their husbands in a group context without any hang-ups or condescension. There is no sense of dirtiness or shame, as if the figures in Biller's film occupy a libidinal utopia where repression had never been invented. The erotic energy bursts from the screen: for a moment anything seems possible with Eros unbound.

But Biller has much more than sex on her brain—it's all a setup with us in the audience as bait. Of course the pleasure can't last, as the heroine does go on a journey after all. Biller's strength is in the tonal shifts; one moment she can be playful and fun, and the next moment deathly serious.

It is to Biller's credit that her treatment of the sexual revolution is so evenhanded. Even as she celebrates the pleasures of that thorny shift in consciousness that we call a revolution she never lets us forget that it came at women's expense; that men often dictated the revolution's terms. And at a more ontological level, VIVA explores the problem of the contradictions between men's and women's innermost desires. In the end, VIVA is a shining paradox: artificial distillation of sexploitation and realistic portrayal of gender conflict, a traditional dramatic structure with closure that raises many questions, a fun, almost farcical sex film that hides an intellectual seriousness about history. The effect becomes something for everyone. --Mitch Hampton


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