Djo Tunda Wa Munga | Congo, France, Belgium | 2010 | 98' | French spoken, English subtitles
Riva, a petty operator with charm and ambition, sees an opportunity to close the deal of his life: He devises a cunning plot to get hold of a fuel-filled tanker truck hijacked by his gangster boss. Fuel is a scarce commodity in Kinshasa and Riva knows he can sell the stuff for a huge profit. Of course, he’s not the only one who wants the tanker. His main rival is Azor, a well-known and dangerous crime boss. Riva does all he can to keep clear of Azor, but this doesn’t hinder him from making shady deals and living life to the full with his friend Cezar. Together they let the fuel money roll in Kinshasa’s nightclubs. This is how Riva catches sight of Nora and falls head over heels for her. What Riva doesn’t know is that Azor too is determined to win Nora’s heart.
The film has been compared to City of God with regard to the sleek camerawork cinematography, the role of music, and sex and violence. Viva Riva! however also shows the omnipresent corruption in Congo without succumbing to moral indignation. Filmmaker Djo Munga Tunda Wa presents Kinshasa as an alluring, bustling mix of slums, gated communities, brothels and night clubs, the natural habitat of people like the charismatic Riva: slightly self-destructive and living for the moment.