Viva Riva!An Interview with Manie Malone
By Wilson Morales
June 7, 2011
Coming out this week is the stylish adrenaline-fuelled crime thriller from Congo, ‘Viva Riva!,’ which was the recipient of six African Movie Academy Awards 2011 and winner of the Inaugural Best African Movie Category at the 2011 MTV Awards.
Directed and written by Congolese film-maker, Djo Tunda wa Munga, the film centers on a Congolese smuggler named Riva (played by Patsha Bay Mukana), who makes a fortune overnight and is hunted down in Kinshasa by his former boss, Angolan crime lord Cesar (New York-based African Academy Award winner Hoji Fortuna). He’s relentlessly seeking the return of his stolen shipment of gasoline.
Making her screen debut as the beautiful night club denizen Nora, the girlfriend of a tough local crime boss who is wooed by Riva is the gorgeous Paris-based actress Manie Malone.
Born in Africa and raised in France, Malone has starred in several French television series including Femmes de Loi, Seconde Chance, and La Vie est à Nous.
In speaking with Blackfilm.com, Malone talks about her character and working with cast of this film.
How would you describe your character?
Manie Malone: This is a very entertaining movie and my character is a woman who is hurting all the time, physically and psychologically. She’s losing faith in herself because her man doesn’t look at her with love and passion anymore. She’s being looked at as a sexual object. She’s not pregnant and has nothing to give to life; so she’s lost her hope and would like to be born again and comes alive again after meeting with Riva.
Are there any character traits that similar to you?
MM: Loneliness. I know how it is to feel alone.
How was working with the cast?
MM: It was interesting to me, especially working with the actors from Kinshasa. They give you what you want from the heart. It was exciting to work with them because it gave me a chance to learn again. You learn something new when working with different actors. I’m very close with the actors when working on a film and with this film, it was a sharing experience.
How was working with Director Djo Tunda wa Munga?
MM: I learned to push myself more. I’m hard working person and like to be challenged, and Djo Tunda gave me the possibility to get where I want to be an actress. I worked hard in learning to speak Lingala so that it would really look authentic on camera.
There’s an intense sex scene that probably wouldn’t be done in an American film. Was that challenging to film?
MM: The bathroom scene was an improvisation because we were trying to do a love sequence but we didn’t know how we were going to get there. I told the director that we needed to add some sensuality and I just improvised. It wasn’t easy for Patsha Bay, who plays Riva. He asked if I would be okay with it because he knows that my family would see me nude and it was also my first time doing a nude scene, but I told him that we would be okay. That’s why we’re professionals and it was a wonderful scene.
What’s next for you?
MM: I don’t know. I hope this film will lead to more challenging roles.