The first full-length feature by LA-based artist and filmmaker Anna Biller (The Hypnotist; A Visit From The Incubus), Viva was described as "a spot-on spoof of low-grade late 60s/early 70s sexploitation flicks" by Variety and joyously and faithfully pays homage to the classics of the genre.
Written by, directed by and starring Biller, the film is a highly stylised, super-colour-saturated, satirical romp through the kind of camp sleaze and nudge-nudge wink-wink jocularity that will be all too familiar to fans of Herschell Gordon Lewis' Suburban Roulette, Radley Metzger's Camille 2000 and Russ Meyer's Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. Biller's attention to detail and painstakingly accurate recreation of the trash aesthetics that make the sexploitation genre so enjoyable have led to Fangoria magazine describing Viva as "incredible, experimental, hilarious and hotter than hell in June.. a film that needs to be seen by any self-respecting trash movie enthusiast."
Biller stars as Barbi, a voluptuous, bored suburban housewife with a workaholic husband, Rick (Chad England), who, although perfect in most ways is indifferent to her physical and emotional needs. To get through the monotony of her days, Barbi turns to the companionship of her wealthy, swinging neighbours, Sheila (Bridget Brno) and Mark (Jared Sanford). It's not long before both couples decide to split up, prompting the newly liberated Sheila to drag Barbi headlong into the middle of the burgeoning sexual revolution. Changing her name to Viva, the once innocent housewife embarks on a wild ride in search of love and adventure. It's a journey that takes her into a world full of new experiences, from bisexual liaisons to psychedelic, drug-fuelled orgies and from bohemian nudist colonies to high-class brothels.
Looking like a lost film from the late 1960s, Viva is a fun and loving tribute to the pre-porn era of cinema, when copies of "Playboy" could be found alongside "Time" magazine on the coffee tables of gaudily decorated living rooms all across America. For fans of B-movie exploitation cinema, kinky softcore, high-camp comedy and all things retro, Viva is a must.
Viva (cert. 18, you'll be glad to know) will be released on UK DVD by Nouveaux Pictures/Cine-Excess on 6th July 2009 at the RRP of £15.99. Special Features include:
- Viva La Vita: Canapés, Cabaret and the Carnal booklet by Beth Johnson;
- Behind the scenes with narration by director Anna Biller;
- Exotic slide show;
- Original theatrical trailer;
- "This is Cine-Excess".