Viva RivaViva Riva!

Democratic Republic of Congo/France/Belgium 2010. Director: Djo Tunda Wa Mungaungary. Cast: Patsha Bay Mukana, Manie Malone, Hoji Fortuna, Alex Herabo, Marlene Longang

Date and Venue 21 May @ 6.30pm | Pacific Cinematheque, 1131 Howe Street, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

This is the first major motion picture to come out of the Congo. I was curious about this film, and as I watched it, I was pleasantly surprised because it was quite good. Patterned after the film noir thrillers of the 1940s and 50s, it follows the whole pattern of corrupt cops chasing corrupt criminals in the streets of the Congo's capital, Kinshasa, and even a Catholic priest wanting to do business with these "bandits". Then there's always the love angle where Riva, the gasoline bootlegger, falls in love with Nora, the girlfriend of Azor, a crime boss not to mess around with. The end is like a Shakesperean tragedy where everybody gets shot or burned to death. I liked all the action and the frank approach to sex, something rarely seen onscreen from African filmmakers.


Catherine Le Lean and Dimitri StorogeNuit #1

Canada 2011. Director: Anne Émond. Cast: Catherine Le Lean, Dimitri Storoge

Date and Venue 21 May @ 8.30pm | Pacific Cinematheque, 1131 Howe Street, Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Émond’s film deals with a sexual encounter, an erotic and at the same time philosophical/psychologial study of a one night stand and its aftermath. Clara (Catherine Le Lean) and Nikolai (Dimitri Storoge) meet at a rave event and end up in Nikolai`s apartment. The first part of the film is quite erotic and candid. Emond`s close-ups of their lovemaking are artistically and elegantly shot.

Then, it`s all talk: the two strangers, now sober and clothed, begin to express their insights on the meaninglessness of their lives. Nikolai is a dropout from a Fine Arts degree and was fired as a sous-chef from a retirement home, while Clara is a Grade Three teacher who can`t be fired because she`s a member of the Teachers Union. She confesses that she does drugs and has all kinds of sex with different men every weekend.

This is a Quebec film and part of the torment that Clara suffers is the whole problem of Quebec`s living in two cultures, the French and the English. In the case of Nikolai, he is an immigrant from the Ukraine, and he epitomizes the plight of immigrants to Canada. An excellent film. It was named best Canadian feature at VIFF last year.

© 2012 Ed Farolan