VIVA Anna Biller
Feature 35mm 120:00 2006 Chicago Premiere
It’s 1972. Barbi is a sexy suburban housewife, with a great husband and a lovely home, but despite swinging cocktail parties and her husband Rick’s Friday night loving, Barbi feels bored and unfulfilled. Craving Rick’s love, she tries to be a perfect wife, and never lets him know she is unhappy.
But the tension mounts, and after a terrible fight, Rick walks out in anger. Barbi calls her girlfriend Sheila for advice. Spouting women’s lib, Sheila drags Barbi to the city to explore her new sexual freedom. Barbi meets a free-loving hippie at a nudist camp, a glam British photographer named Clyde, and a group of immoral artists and bohemians. Barbi becomes decadent, is pursued and used by libertines, and becomes the fetishized centerpiece of a wild orgy.
Disgusted with her life and missing Rick, Barbi returns home. After a few more tribulations she is reconciled with Rick, and all is forgotten. But soon she realizes that she can no longer be happy merely as Rick’s wife. Then an unexpected opportunity comes her way that finally gives her the sense of self-worth she has been looking for.
Filled with great musical numbers, evocative period set pieces, a Technicolor palette, spot-on performances, innocent nudity, and an absurd sense of humor that lets it all hang out; VIVA is both a scathing commentary and a stylish tribute to the Playboy-era sexual revolution and its symbols.
“Biller takes inspiration not just from Z-grade pics of her favorite era, but also from its Playboy magazine aesthetic and TV cologne/liquor commercials. Her production design is a triumph of dedicated thrift-shop acquisition, with decor as much as drop-dead costumes amplifying the cheesiest aspects of early ’70s flamboyance.” – Variety