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Damien lives with his mother Marianne, a doctor, while his father is on a tour of duty abroad. He is bullied by Thomas, whose mother is ill. The boys find themselves living together when Marianne invites Thomas to come and stay with them.
When everything is for sale, what's the value of love? Jesus does make up for a troupe of drag performers in Havana, but dreams of being a performer. When he finally gets his chance to be on stage, a stranger emerges from the crowd and punches him in the face. The stranger is his father Angel, a former boxer, who has been absent from his life for 15 years. As father and son clash over their opposing expectations of each other, Viva becomes a love story as the men struggle to understand one another and become a family again.
The first thing that knocks you out is the cinematography. It is a marvel how they can pull that off in a run-down, old, desolate place like Old Havana. But besides the obvious drag-queen story there is a very realistic depiction of life in Havana which, although touched up a bit, still gives the viewer a sense of how it really is. Well-known Cuban actors Luis Alberto Garcia (unrecognizable in drag) and Jorge Perugorría give excellent performances, but the star is newcomer Hector Medina. The only low point of the movie is the subtitle translation which does not do justice to the writing. I'm not sure how this film will play in Peoria, but in Miami's Little Havana where I saw it today it did just fine.
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