Cuban Drama 'VIVA' Depicts a Compelling Father and Son Reunion


  • Magnolia Pictures
The CAPITOL SELECTS, a new series at the Capitol Theatre that features limited one-week only engagements on a dedicated screen, begins today with VIVA, an acclaimed Cuban drama about a young man’s attempts to reconcile with his long-lost father.

With this moving film that often feels more like a documentary than a drama, director Paddy Breathnach (Man About Dog, Blow Dry and Shrooms) provides a snapshot of what life in Cuba must be like for a young gay man.  

Tired of turning tricks and living on subsistence wages as a hairdresser, Jesus (Héctor Medina) auditions to work at a Havana nightclub that showcases drag performers. Though his audition doesn’t go well (he doesn’t even know how to properly tuck his junk), he gets the gig thanks to his mentor, Mama (Luis Alberto García), who decides to give him a shot. His first professional appearance goes well until when his estranged father Angel (Jorge Perugorría) shows up and starts throwing punches.

When Angel shows up at Jesus’ apartment the next morning, the two have a heart-to-heart talk, and Angel makes a toast to their new life together, claiming Jesus’ home to be his new home. A former boxer, Angel thinks with his fists and comes off as particularly coarse, especially compared to the compassionate Jesus. Their personalities clash, and Jesus eventually loses his cool one night and starts yelling. His outburst hits a nerve, and Angel suddenly becomes more considerate. 

As much as the movie centers on Cuba's underground drag culture, the story at its core has universal appeal. It's about family, and the ways in which parents and their children often struggle to connect and communicate. 

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