The year is 1972. A housewife, Barbi, sets out on an erotic adventure starting with being offered a private photo session and ending in orgies. Together with her friend, she becomes a call girl after they decide to just randomly stand outside in clothes who some might say reveal too much. This is when they meet an older woman who says she can help them to find just the adventures they are looking for. They are now officially call girls.
You got me, Anna Biller and Cult Epics. When this movie arrived from Cult Epics, and going by what I had seen in the trailer, I honestly thought this was from the 60/70's. There was nothing about it that would make you believe it in fact was from 2007. Unlike films like "Grindhouse", this movie doesn't come across as desperate in it's attempt to recreate a past decade. Of course, I should much rather compare "Viva" to "The House of the Devil", a movie that actually recreates the 80's really well, and doesn't face me as being desperate in the slightest, instead "The House of the Devil" did it subtle enough to actually be taken seriously in it's homage. "Viva" is like that. It even does it better than "The House of the Devil" did, which is saying alot. Especially since the difference between the 60/70's psychedelic colors and style and our modern day is huge, while the suburban horror movie feel of the 80's that "The House of the Devil" has is much more like how we live today. Alot can probably be said about "Viva", but this is without a doubt the first thing that anyone will comment on about it, and Anna Biller should be proud that she did it to such perfection.
Now, the story itself doesn't differ all that much from the obscure softcore films from back then either, and while I would think they Anna Biller could've mustered up something to seperate it more, it's easy to understand that she worked hard on what she ended up with. This is a story about Barbi (played by director and writer Anna Biller) and her boredom of being a housewife. She and her friend Sheila agree on becoming prostitutes with the help from a lady, so Barbi is from now on known as Viva. At first they are a bit uncomfortable but soon find the pleasure in playing around with their sexuality.
One thing that can be discussed whether it's positive or negative is the acting. At first I was a bit annoyed by the fact that the acting was so over-the-top. But at a second thought, do you remember the acting in these films that actually were made back then? Yeah, the acting was kinda stupid alot of the times. The longer I watched "Viva", the more it fell into place. This erotic comedy wouldn't have been as entertaining and, let's face it, as much of a no-brainer as it is if it wasn't for the actors doing their part.
Nudity, "cheeky" comedy, excellent set designs, decent enough musical numbers, a great director and lead (who, I must add, has the body for the role), and mild entertainment sums this movie up. Although, I should've said "alot of nudity", as we have muffs, boobers and manly dangling parts all over the place. Yes, it is still just softcore. Take everything you remember from the easy and entertaining 70's softcore comedies and you know what you are gonna get, it's as simple as that.
All that's left to say is; please Anna Biller, make a horror movie with the same perfect style. You'd make the horror fan in me cry of joy.