Viva Riva! is unprecedented: a story set in contemporary Democratic Republic of Congo full of intrigue, music and a surprisingly frank approach to sex.

Riva is an operator, a man with charm and ambition in equal measure. With petrol in short supply in DRC’s capital, he and his sidekick pursue a plot to get hold of a secret cache – barrels of fuel they can sell for a huge profit. Of course they’re not the only ones who want the stuff. Cesar is a ruthless, sharply dressed foreigner thriving in Kinshasa’s lawless streets. A female military officer joins the fray. But Riva’s main nemesis is Azor, a crime boss in the classic style: big, decadent and brutal. He’s not a man to mess with, but his girlfriend, Nora, may just be the most seductive woman in all of DRC.

Shooting in high definition, Munga saturates the film with rich colour and movement. As the film roves from Azor’s luxury lair, to lush scenes outside the city, to the dens where sin is for sale, Viva Riva! offers a contemporary portrait of urban Africa rarely seen on screen.

Cameron Bailey,
Toronto International Film Festival