Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Viva

Academic journal article Journal of Religion and Film

Viva

Article excerpt

Viva

(2015)

Directed by Paddy Breathnach

Last year the Sundance Film Festival brought us Rodrigo Garcia's Last Days in the Desert, the story of a father/son relationship using the most famous Father and Son duo as the focal point. This year's SFF brings us another father/son story, Paddy Breathnach's Viva. In both stories the son is named Jesus.

Set in Havana, Cuba, a young gay man (Jesus) wants to perform as a drag queen. He makes his living as a hairdresser who often takes care of the wigs of the drag queens at the club, but singing in the club is his passion. Jesus has taken the stage name of Viva.

One night, while performing, Jesus flirts with a man at the bar. Other performers urge him to flirt with the man because they think he has lots of money. Instead of accepting the flirtation, however, the man punches Jesus in the mouth. It turns out that the man is Jesus' father, Angel, a father that abandoned Jesus many years ago. Jesus, of course, did not recognize Angel.

Uninvited, Angel moves in with Jesus. He mooches off Jesus and constantly berates him. Most importantly, Angel forbids Jesus from performing at the club, even though this is the source of money for both of them. Angel thinks he is acting like a father, but he has not been Jesus' father for many years. We soon learn that Angel is dying. …

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