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1970s-styled sexploitation parody: Barbi, a young 70s housewife abandoned by her husband is lured into a world of unfamiliar sexual freedom.
".. all the sexual revolution mischief 1970s Los Angeles has to offer, "Viva" is a spot-on spoof of low-grade '60s/early '70s sexploitation pics… production design is a triumph ..cinematography heightens color to an eye-popping degree" VARIETY
"VIVA is a meticulously designed re-imagining of "classy"-minded '70's-era soft porn. Simply put, the movie pops with parodic joy - in the hoary double-entendres and presentational acting styles - and hotly lighted 35MM cinematography that evokes lounge music album covers and Playboy ads". LOS ANGELES TIMES
Exotic Slide Show
Behind-the-scene Footage with narration by Director Anna Biller
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Top Customer Reviews
If you're a fan of films from directors such as Russ Meyer (particularly SuperVixens), sexploitation and throwback movies then you should definetly check this one out. It recieved some fantastic reviews from critics upon it's release and I totally agree with it. A great fun film that pays homage to the rather cheeky films of the 60s.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
"Viva" is nothing what you would expect. Anna Biller, who is the writer, director, costume designer, lead actress and pretty much everything else, is firmly in the sex-positive feminist camp and has set out to make a movie that lures you in with the promise of easy sleaze but then delivers something else. Oh, to be sure there are nudist camps and swinger parties, orgies and naughty poolside antics, but none of it is there to sexually excite the viewer, with no tight focusing on body parts. The men are fully naked more often than the women, and all the sex scenes are cut short right when the action begins. Anyone looking for some naughty indulgence is going to be disappointed.
The story is straight out of the letters column of an old Penthouse. Bored and unhappy with their spouses, the dark-haired Barbie (played by Biller, who is half-Japanese) and her blonde neighbor Shelia (Bridget Brno) decide to experience the sexual revolution. Shelia quickly hooks up with a wealthy old gentleman who can ply her with diamonds and furs, but Barbie, re-christened "Viva" to show her new freedom, only finds one bad affair after another. She tries everything from a gay hairdresser and his bi-sexual hunk of a lover, to a guitar-strumming hippie nudist, to a lesbian model and finally a modern artist. Nothing satisfies her, and things just don't go as planned. All of the "scenes" are tinged with darkness, and the purity of word doesn't translate to purity of action.
Biller apparently created the storyline for "Viva" by looking at advertisements in old men's magazines from the time period, then creating a story around images she liked. Because of this, the plot can be a little jerky, as the characters move to suit the scene rather than the other way around. The visuals are stunning, with an outrageous color palette and era-perfect hair-dos and costumes.
I don't personally think that Biller was as successful as she wanted to be in transmitting her theme of "What is a feminist woman made a 70's sexploitation flick?", and the film often comes off as little more than a comedic parody of the genre. Some scenes are easier to digest than others, and there is some brilliance. The best scene is when one of the male characters talks about how wonderful this time is, with open shirts and women at his beck and call, and a warning that such a paradise for men will not come again.
There is a message to be found here, however, and multiple viewings of "Viva" are probably required to get the full impact. Fans of Russ Meyer's flicks like Beyond the Valley of the Dolls are going to have a blast here, and even if you aren't in the mood to mine the deeper feminist message you can just have a good time with all the bright colors and funky fun.