Geeky Cinephile Musings…
I don't pontificate, I blather.

V is for…. Viva

Disclaimer: My apologies to all those big city kids who saw this movie in 2007 and already had this conversation. Somehow it skated right past us. That’s life in the sticks.

When a friend first showed me the trailer for this movie on Youtube, my poor confused brain thought I was seeing clips from some overlooked, tawdry sexploitation film from the seventies.

Turns out, this is just a really well-crafted homage to tawdry sexploitation movies from the seventies. The story is kind of pointless, natch, but there is more than enough skin (see: hippies at a nudist camp), plenty of drugs, a ridiculous “orgy”, and of course the mandatory good-girl-goes-bad theme. The attention to detail is also pretty good, minus a few set and continuity gaffes, and within minutes the viewer is awash in garish colors, bad dubbing, and flat acting, all of which serve to transport them back to the fabulousness that was, or wasn’t, depending on your point of view.

Viva is obviously a labor of love for Anna Biller, who wrote, directed, and produced the movie as well as designed the sets and costumes and played the lead role. She took her inspiration from stories in the Playboy magazines of the time and it shows. (There are also definite hints of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and John Waters running wild in there.) Yes, Biller’s constantly arched eyebrow and pursed lips did grate after a while and, yes, I did start to wonder if she was only pretending to be that bad of an actor, but considering how hard she must have worked to get this movie off the ground, I let it slide.

As a period piece, Viva is amazing, and as an homage to that genre of film it is also pretty good. I’m just not sure how it stands as a movie in its own right: what was shocking in the 70s really isn’t as shocking now and some the scenes bordered on painful (again, hippies in a nudist camp). Biller appears to be going for the cult movie look and feel, but unfortunately falls into the same trap as anyone attempting to go that route: no one can just “make” a cult movie, audience and time determine that status. A for effort, though.

Viva is a fun romp and definitely worth renting, just be prepared for various wrinkled dangly bits here and there.

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One Response to “V is for…. Viva”

  1. Zee movie eez gohnuh!


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