Viva Riva!

A blast from start to finish, "Viva Riva!" marks the Congo as an African filmmaking center to watch.

A blast from start to finish, writer-director Djo Tunda Wa Munga’s “Viva Riva!” marks the Congo as an African filmmaking center to watch. Reveling in genre codes and reminiscent of Tony Scott’s mix of adrenaline and style, this sexy actioner, hinging on gasoline smuggling, betrayals and hot-blooded eros, is certain to travel to fests looking for a fun, well-made genre programmer. Non-Francophone buyers will be indifferent to pic’s attractiveness purely because of its place of origin.

Riva (Patsha Bay Mukana) is a likable Kinshasa-based hustler aiming to smuggle a sizable cache of pricey gasoline from a shady bunch of Angolans. His focus is understandably distracted by the stunning Nora (Manie Malone, a knockout from head to toe), the mistress of tough local crime boss Azor (Diplome Amekindra). With thugs to the right and left of him, Riva presses his luck with Nora by his side, and Munga matches his hero’s nerve. Antoine Roch’s digital cinematography and Yves Langlois’ acute editing support the helmer’s ambition for moviemaking that’s neither African art cinema nor cheapo Nollywood escapism.

Viva Riva!


  • Production: A Formosa presentation in co-production with MG Prods. and Suka! Prods. Produced by Boris Vans Gils, Michael Goldberg, Djo Tunda Wa Munga. Co-producer, Steven Markowitz. Directed, written by Djo Tunda Wa Munga.
  • Crew: Camera (color, DV), Antoine Roch; editor, Yves Langlois; music, Louis Vyncke, Cyril Atef, Congopunq; production designer, Philippe Van Herwijnen. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Discovery), Sept. 9, 2010. Running time: 98 MIN.
  • With: With: Patsha Bay Mukana, Manie Malone, Hoji Fortuna, Alex Herbo, Marlene Longage, Diplome Amekindra, Angelique Mbumba, Nzita Tumba, Jordan N'Tunga. (Lingala, Portuguese, French dialogue)
  • Music By: