Riva is an operator, a man with charm and ambition in equal measure. Kinshasa is an inviting place. With petrol in short supply in DRC's capital, he and his sidekick pursue a plot to get ...
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Riva is an operator, a man with charm and ambition in equal measure. Kinshasa is an inviting place. With petrol in short supply in DRC's capital, he and his sidekick pursue a plot to get hold of a secret cache - barrels of fuel they can sell for a huge profit. Of course they're not the only ones who want the stuff. Cesar is a ruthless, sharply dressed foreigner thriving in Kinshasa's lawless streets. A female military officer joins the fray. Even the church will betray its tenets for a piece of the action. But Riva's main nemesis is Azor, a crime boss in the classic style: big, decadent and brutal. He's not a man to mess with, but his girlfriend, Nora, may just be the most seductive woman in all of DRC. Riva catches sight of her dancing at a nightclub and it's not long before Nora matches the fuel cache as a coveted object of his lust. Written by
Criminals fighting over stolen loot, double-crossing each other and paying off corrupt law-enforcers. Lots of shoot-outs and fist-fights. Beautiful women and tough guys. The occasional sex scene. A plot that twists and turns.
Sounds like your average Hollywood gangster flick. But this is not Hollywood, but Kinshasa. The loot is not cocaine, but petrol. The location is not downtown LA or the Bronx, but a Congolese slum. The foreign gang leader is not Mexican, but Angolan. The hero doesn't drive a flashy car, but a battered wreck with 'auto école' written on it.
Viva Riva is an unusual combination: a classic gangster movie, set in one of the poorest countries in the world. The result is an interesting film, that can appeal to thriller-fans and to art-house movie lovers.
The movie has nothing of a classic third world film. Poverty or inequality is not an issue. It's all about fast-paced action. At the same time, it's very authentic. The language is Lingala, the slums are real, the music is Congolese. No artificial ingredients to please a western public.
The plot has a lot of noir-elements. The femme fatale, leading the hero to his downfall; a labyrinthine plot, with no-one trusting no-one; and the seedy bars and brothels where a lot of the action takes place.
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