Thursday, December 8, 2016

Viva (2007)

With its leisurely pace, it's impossible to miss how much work went into this film. To match the specific look Anna Biller and her collaborators were going for, all these period props and costumes had to be found or made. The same goes for the sets and locations. The result is gorgeous to look at and filled with bare flesh, but thanks to the presentational acting and blatant sloganeering, it's much closer to Jean-Luc Godard than Russ Meyer. Biller wants us to take something away from this film. Like Guy Maddin, she's using the form of vintage media to deconstruct the artificiality of both the past and the present. You become hyper-aware of the sexism and hypocrisy that was just underneath the surface of the "free love" movement and America in general. With a Trump presidency looming, a film like Viva provides as an uneasy reminder of the "good times" red hats want to get back to.

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