Tag Archives: Vina Riva! (2010)

Viva Riva!

Can someone please tell me why we are still obsessing about crime fiction and film from places like Scandinavia when there is so much interesting material coming out of Africa and Asia?

I ask this because last week I saw the 2010 Congolese crime film, Viva Riva! and thought it was great.

Viva Riva! is set in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The nearly three-decade rule of Mobutu Sese Seko, Africa’s most corrupt despot (and that’s saying something) is over, and the city is recovering from brutal street fighting in the aftermath of the disputed 2006 elections.

Small-time gangster, Riva, has returned from neighbouring Angola with a truckload of stolen petrol. Kinshasa is in the middle of a fuel shortage. Riva and his crew aim to get rich quick by selling the lot at top dollar.

Hot on his trail is Cesar, an enforcer for the Angolan interests Riva has stolen the fuel from. Cesar wants the petrol back and proceeds to cut a bloody swathe through Kinshasa to get it. Helping Cesar is the Commandant, a female Congalese military commander whose sister is being held captive by the Angolans.

Everyone in this film is on the make, whether it’s for money, sex, food, or safety. And everyone is corrupt.

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