Of love and men: VIVA.


Content by Lupita Peimbert.

(Cinema) – Look at it simply, and it appears like a drag queen’s story. Look at it a little more deeply, and you’ll see a story about love as it affects men, their dreams and conventions. Director Paddy Breathnach brings to life a set of powerful, emotional, and very real situations happening in a city where everybody seems unafraid to be who they are, right or wrong. At least they talk about whatever they are feeling instead of hiding it. And most of them are men, telling the hopes and sorrows of human beings. Forget that some of them are guys and some of them are machos.

Of all places, this film is set in Havana, Cuba, but it could happen anywhere else.

A young man wants to sing and perform at a drag queen but his father, who was never there for him, all of a sudden wants to play the protector. But the father was actually protecting his old, macho, and obsolete ideas about what manhood is about, and so about what it is to be gay or drag queen or whatever.


The cast is magnificent. The characters are complex, real, and passionate. Hector Medina, who plays the main role is outstanding, and so it is Jorge Perugorria the father, and Luis Alberto Garcia the cabaret-owner, and the others. VIVA is a must see, as it honors the feelings that men rarely display, and it shows that at the end, anybody can dream anything, but only those who fight for their dreams get to see them come thru.

Unequivocally, this film presents some realities long heard about, from an island who may be on the verge of changing.

VIVA opens Friday, May 6, in San Francisco’s Landmark Embarcadero. In Spanish with English subtitles. Added value: The songs in Spanish, intense, passionate, a la Rosita Fornes, a la Massiel, and a la other singers seemingly from epochs far away.

“El amor te hipnotiza, te hace soñar, y sueñas y cedes y te dejas llevar,

y te mueve por dentro y te hace ser más,
y te empuja y te puede y te lleva detrás …

Y de pronto te alza, te lanza, te quema,

hace luz en tu alma, hace fuego en tus venas,

y te hace gritar al sentir que te quemas,

te disuelve, te evapora, te destruye, te crea …”