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Sundance Gem ‘Viva’ is Full of Profound Emotion and Offers a New View of Family

Sundance Gem 'Viva' is Full of Profound Emotion and Offers a New View of Family

I loved this film, full of deep feeling and offers a new view of ‘family’. Paddy Breathnach‘s “Viva” tells the Havana story of a young teen boy, Jesus, who is trying to find himself, his identity.

His world is that of a gay drag club where the queens dress fantastically to sing on stage the eternally famous songs of passion love and betrayal. Jesus scrapes by on the streets, barely, and sometimes sells his body.
But at the club when he sings there is a special time always and it appears he could have a career there.Suddenly his long gone father returns. A brutal man who deserted Jesus who barely remembers him.
The father is gravely ill, has no money and proceeds to forbid Jesus from performing his stage act. This is truly a family from hell and we wonder how the beautiful sensitive young teen Jesus can ever survive.
A really good film, wonderful acting, great idea.

Viva” was Ireland’s Official Oscar entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category and it made the 9-film shortlist out of 80 submissions for the 88th Academy Awards.

From the Sundance catalog: 
Veteran director Paddy Breathnach’s Viva first transported audiences
to the vibrant world of Havana’s drag scene at the Telluride Film
Festival. We are
thrilled to welcome Breathnach back to the Sundance Film Festival.
Jesus has spent most of his young adult life styling wigs at a drag
club in Havana, longing for a purpose other than the pennies he scrapes
together in the
shadows of his surroundings. When Jesus is offered the chance to
perform amongst the other queens, the cruel winds of fate bring his
estranged, abusive
father back into his life after 15 years. What unfolds is a
bittersweet story of pain, regret, and reconciliation. As the two men’s
lives violently
collide, they are forced to grapple with their conflicting views.
Laced with the raw passion and drama of drag, director Paddy
Breathnach and writer Mark O’Halloran bring Viva to life with exquisite
tenderness. Actors
Jorge Perugoría and Héctor Medina fill this wrenching love story
with a raw humanity that runs beyond the confines of the screen. With a
resounding case
for compassion, Viva illuminates the oft-devastating path of family,
neglect, and resolution.
Paddy Breathnach’s first feature, Ailsa, won Best First/Second
Film at the San Sebastian Film Festival. His second feature, I Went Down
(1998 Sundance
Film Festival), won Best New Director prize at the San Sebastian
Film Festival, Best Director award at the Thessaloniki International
Film Festival,
and Best Film at the Bogota International Film Festival. His
comedy, Man About Dog, became one of the most successful independent
Irish films.
Breathnach directs both documentaries and dramas.

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