Viva Riva! ★★

The dirty crimes of Zaire
Melded onto our aesthetics.
Because Africa
Needs a Michael Bay
And I'm totally serious.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it"
-Evelyn Beatrice Hall, The Friends of Voltaire

A profoundly silly movie, that's more or less the type of American gangster movie that is over-the-top in so many ways, while also annoyingly moralizing. And yet, an important film in many ways: manages to make its narrative culturally specific to the issues of contemporary Zaire (petroleum stealing, tensions with Angola, corruption in both church and state), and while certainly not a critique by any means, it is at least a film that can work through issues facing its citizens today (think of a different example—The Raid, which could be set anywhere and it wouldn't matter, and says nothing about anything). Still pretty much unwatchable in my eyes, but but those filmmakers that protested this film's showing at the Ouagadougou Film Festival because the film is not African enough are missing the point: there is no such thing as an African aesthetic for those who have grown up as digital and global citizens. A filmmaker like Munga grew up watching 80s action films, so why not let Africa have its Michael Bay?