Tuesday, August 6, 2019
TRANS Chicago in collaboration PRCC and the Boathouse will be screening VIVA
A young hairdresser (Héctor Medina) clashes with his estranged father (Jorge Perugorría) when his dream of performing in drag comes true.
Even the fiercest queens on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” aren’t put through the wringer half as rigorously as the twiggy protagonist of “Viva” — an aspiring Havana drag artiste who must survive severe poverty, prostitution, parental abuse and family tragedy atop the strain of lip-syncing for his life. Irish helmer Paddy Breathnach’s kind-hearted, fleet-footed Cuban diversion doesn’t wallow in such woe, however. If anything, this understandably Oscar-shortlisted crowdpleaser skirts the sharpest edges of its hard-luck tale, playing softball with matters of homosexuality and prejudice; heavily telegraphed melodrama, meanwhile, provides short-cut solutions to complex character conflicts. Like its eponymous stage performer, however, “Viva” appealingly makes up for a coy approach with gutsy, grabby follow-through on the high notes.