DIR: Paddy Breathnach • WRI: Mark O’Halloran • PRO: Cathleen Dore, Rebecca O’Flanagan, Robert Walpole • DOP: Cathal Watters • ED: Stephen O’Connell • DES: Paki Smith • MUS: Stephen Rennicks • CAST: Héctor Medina, Jorge Perugorría, Luis Alberto García
What’s so very fantastic about Viva is how this movie is complete paradox: it’s a melodrama filled with gorgeous subtle moments; it’s a most depressing feel-good film; plus, it’s the least Irish Irish film gracing the big screen for some time.
Héctor Medina gives a quietly powerful performance as Jesus, a young hairdresser with a gig working at a Havana nightclub that showcases drag performers. Living a meagre and solitary existence, Jesus finds his voice when his mentor, Mama (Luis Alberto García), gives him an opportunity to perform onstage. However, when Angel (Jorge Perugorría), his estranged father, returns after 20 years in prison, Jesus is forced to make a choice between his role as ‘Viva’ and forging a relationship with this angry, alcoholic stranger.
Writer Mark O’Halloran and Directer Paddy Breathnach form a formidable team with a piece of work so far removed from anything either has done before; both stylistically and alternatively, this film stands very far apart from a laugh-a-minute gangster comedy or the black conversational humour we’re used to. These huge overarching themes of poverty, loss, family and toxic masculinity are explored through Viva‘s complex, truthful characters and their dynamics. This, alongside Breathnach’s impressive visual dynamism, brings tension, energy and vibrancy to every scene.
The universality of this small, truthful story is told so well meaning absolutely nothing in Viva is lost in translation.
15A (See IFCO for details)
Viva is released 19th August 2016
Viva – Official Website
- August 21, 2016 Interview: Director Paddy Breathnach & Writer Mark O’Halloran of ‘Viva’
- August 16, 2016 Irish Film Review @ GAZE: Viva
- March 9, 2016 ADIFF Irish Film Review: Viva
- July 15, 2016 Irish Film Review: Mom and Me
- August 31, 2018 Irish Film Review: I, Dolours
- September 16, 2016 Irish Film Review: The Young Offenders
- October 26, 2018 Irish Film Review: Katie
- March 24, 2017 Irish Film Review: The Secret Scripture
- December 18, 2015 ‘Viva’ Shortlisted for Academy Awards®
- April 21, 2017 Irish Film Review: Handsome Devil