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Film Review: Viva (2007)

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“VIVA (2007) is a cult retro spectacle about a bored 1970s housewife who gets sucked into the sexual revolution. Abandoned by her perfect Ken-doll husband, Barbi (writer/director Anna Biller, THE LOVE WITCH) is dragged into trouble by her girlfriend, who spouts women’s lib as she gets Barbi to discard her bra and go out on the town. Barbi becomes a Red Riding Hood in a sea of wolves, and quickly learns a lot more than she wanted to about the different kinds of scenes going on in the wild ’70s, including nudist camps, the hippie scene, orgies, bisexuality, sadism, drugs, and bohemia.”


The Blu-Ray features Behind-the Scenes footage narrated by Anna Biller.

Anna Biller is a writer and director. Anna’s work is ahead of it’s time. Her films are beautiful and creative. She is empowering women and the visuals, the colors, the aesthetics, the seventies feel to her films. Her second feature Viva is on Blu-Ray. Anna’s first feature, The Love Witch is a stunning bewitching, and sexy.

Viva was written and directed by Anna Biller.

Viva opens with “This is a story abut a housewife during the sexual revolution.” Anna Biller plays Barbi/Viva-Rick’s wife. She’s in the bathtub doing some reading and drinking a glass of wine. This movie just started and it’s like you are taken back in time.

The time and era are in Los Angeles. We meet Sheila (Bridget Brno) and Mark (Jared Sanford). They are lounging outside by the pool. Barbi stops by Sheila and Mark’s place because Rick, Barbi’s husband is working. Sheila is reading Playboy and Sheila and Barbi decide that Mark could maybe take a few photos of them by the pool.

Anna Biller does a great job so far with the writing, the shots, the way of life. Women didn’t have it easy and we still don’t. There always seems to be bullshit lurking about. Anna Biller reminds me of Tura Satana, I can see the two of them making a bad ass movie together.

Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (1965) When Varla says, “I never try anything. I just do it.” That’s classic.

Sheila, Mark, and Barbi are relaxing now. The house is very seventies, the obnoxious laughing and overly glancing excited look that Mark keeps plastered on his face says a lot. Barbi is at work now. She’s a secretary and works for a loud obnoxious boss that chases her around the office. He’s grabby and touchy feely. It’s gross really.

I have been in some wild situations and I know a lot of people, women in particular that have been in some uncomfortable situations.  The fact that you can be a woman but then told, oh, you can’t be sexy or you’re a slut. You can’t be too feminine. You can look pretty but you may be dumb. There are so many dumb stereotypes when it comes to women.

Rick comes home and Barbi rubs his feet, she’s decked out in lingerie. She tells Rick that she lost her job because Mr. Humphrey (Sam Bologna) found out she was married. Rick and Barbi are having a fur rug by the fire place scene. Barbi is embracing being a woman and everything it offers.

Sheila and Mark go on a picnic and oh love outdoors, is there anything better? You get the gist this movie was indeed inspired by Playboy, those carefree days of the seventies. Rick is so fixated on work. Barbi decides to head to modeling agency. Barbi meets Miss Marker (Veronica Alicino), she has faith in Barbi.

Sherman (Barry Morse) is Barbi’s next stop. Sherman is a hair stylist and she wants Sherman to make her look like a model. She doesn’t seem to be getting what she needs from her husband.

Viva is so aesthetically bright and alive as a film. Anna Biller delivers this cult treasure of a film. She covers every detail from wardrobe to the telephones.

Barbi’s husband is going away again, this time he wants to go away longer. Her hubby takes off and Sheila has a plan for her and Barbi. Sheila and Barbi want to be liberated, happy, they want to have fun. They go out and they’re spotted by Mrs. James (Carole Balkan). Mrs. James owns a brothel and she’s the pimp. This is where Viva comes in, as “Viva means to live” in Italian. Viva is born from Barbi and Sheila becomes Candy.

Viva is trying to find what she wants in herself and in a man. Her hubby is still away. Love and sex and sexual revolutions are all very different. It seems like sometimes if us women want to have any type of revolution, we wound up burned at the stake. (Some men also.) Viva meets all types of different men and women on her conquest.

Viva is a stellar film to follow Anna Biller’s last film, The Love Witch.

Check out Viva.

Anna Biller IMDB – https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0082366/

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