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A perceptive drama set in a Havana nightclub that acts as a showcase for drag performers, Viva tells the story of Jesus (Héctor Medina), a young man who does the performers’ hair and make up. Wanting to take the stage himself, Jesus is finally given the chance to do so, but the occasion is disrupted by the arrival of his father, who he hasn’t seen in fifteen years. What follows is a touching, heartfelt tale of estrangement and reconnection between two men with opposing feelings and views on life and each other (and in its own way is a kind of love story). What makes this particular movie of interest is that it’s from Ireland, it was a hit at the 2015 Telluride Film Festival, and it’s also Ireland’s official entry for the Best Foreign Film Academy Award this year. But even without that endorsement, this still looks like a movie that should gain audience approval in 2016.

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