Victoria, a German movie shot in Berlin: Review & Summary
Victoria. She is the starting point and the culminating point. The character with whom everything begins and ends. As Dr. Jekyll, Victoria lets herself be invaded by Mr. Hyde. Except this time, we don't know which one survives.
She is a young Madrid woman who has been living in Berlin for three months. When she left a night club one evening, she met Boxer, Fuss, Blinker and Sonne, four Berliners. She, with an innocent smile and childish drunkenness, they late night scoundrels. A siren caught in the nets of four pirates. The celebration continues late in the evening, or early in the morning, in the streets of Berlin. While some of them are asleep, the club of the five wanders. They end one party and start another. We are thrown into a supermarket where beer is stolen, on a roof that we reach clandestinely, then into a coffee shop, in which Victoria works. All this with only one camera in hand. Only one take. No cuts. Because if the film was shot in three days, it is the same journey that the director repeated three times and finally only retained the last one. A day of shooting then.
And yet Victoria won six awards at the 65th German Film Awards ceremony, including Best Director, Best Actress for Laia Costa (Victoria) and Best Actor for Frederick Lau (Sonne). At a time when the greatest directors are struggling to get the most famous actor and are shooting in Hollywood's biggest studios, Sebastian Schipper, with his camera on his shoulder, is making Berlin his playground. He goes further, lets go and lets his actors improvise the dialogues. He wants to grasp the truth, grasp the action and the reaction. He didn't bother with make-up artists or costumers. Just the real life. What a slap!
When you watch Victoria you become the sixth of the group. We do not come out of it unscathed either. We want to capture every minute of this night and live at the same pace as them. When Victoria starts playing the piano, you suddenly want to know everything about her. Her innocence is gone. We're swept away by her anger. She's unrecognizable. She's possessed and it's hard to stop her. We are subjugated, like Sonne.
To the rhythm of Mephisto's waltz, the piece played by Victoria, this nightcap begins like a treasure hunt, an improvised stroll through Berlin. We're looking for adventure and we want to have fun. This feeling is quadrupled by the sequence shot, by the absence of German subtitles that brings us closer to Victoria's point of view. We are short of breath and intimidated by our German protagonists while, like Victoria, we only speak English. We have the adrenaline rising and our senses awakened in front of this young Berliner, whom we have only known for 15 minutes, but by whom we are irresistibly attracted. Like a fly by the light. And when Victoria gets too close to the sun, she burns her wings. Because the notes are getting faster. The music becomes more dramatic and more disturbing. We fall too fast and without realizing it.
Again, we don't understand the arguments, we don't understand what this giant with blond ashen hair is screaming in the parking lot. But we understand when they put on the hoods. We understand when a chase starts just out of the box again. It is six in the morning, we are in Berlin, and here we are in chaos. This movie is like an orgasm we didn't see coming. A series of improbable situations. We are excited, anxious, devastated, relieved and finally stunned. Strangely enough, this film breathes life. It makes us want to start a pilgrimage to the filming locations. Go to that hotel, steal a beer, maybe even check at the coffee shop to see if Victoria's back on duty.
Additional information on the film: Production, distribution and awards
- Sebastian Schipper
- Victoria: Laia Costa
- Ringing: Frederick Lau
- Boxer: Franz Rogowski
- Fuss: Max Mauff
- Blinker: Burak Yigit
- The blond giant: André Hennicke
Prizes and awards
The movie won the silver bear for the best artistic contribution for Sturla Brandth Grøvlen to the camera at the German Film Festival Berlinale in 2015.
6 Awards at the 65th German Film Awards in 2015:
- Best Direction for Sebastian Schipper
- Best actress for Laia Costa
- Best actor for Frederick Lau
- Best photography for Sturla Brandth Grøvlen
- Best music for Nils Frahm
Passionate about literature, Laura regularly contributes to Berlin Poche. After graduating in law, she has been working in a publishing house as a legal transferee.
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