Victoria – Film Review by Frank L.
Directed by Sebastian Schipper
Writers: Sebastian Schipper (story), Olivia Neergaard-Holm (story)
Stars: Laia Costa, Frederick Lau, Franz Rogowski
Victoria (Laia Costa) is a young Spanish girl, who has recently arrived in Berlin and is sufficiently self-confident to head out into the hard-wired heavy beat of a club on her own. The first glimpse of her is swaying with other bodies to the thumping rhythm. She works in a café and so, not too late, after swallowing a shot, she leaves the club. She had already been spotted from the doorway of the club by Sonne (Frederick Lau) who was not allowed in as he had no money. He cannot believe his luck as she tries to walk past him and his three mates Boxer (Franz Rogowski), Blinker and Fuss. They look like the sort of boys that any mother would warn a daughter against, none more so than the shaven-headed Boxer. However Sonne manages, through his persistence and a certain degree of latent sexual charm, to persuade her to join them so that she can see “real Berlin”. There then follows a series of haunting sequences of a late night shop, the five of them on the roof of an apartment block, she preparing her café to open later that morning for business, Sonne joining her there and then the other three by which time it transpires that Boxer has a big problem arising out of his less than lawful past. The tempo and the tension then increase markedly and she does indeed experience “real Berlin”.
This suspenseful film was shot in one continuous take on 27th April 2014 between 04.30 and 07.00. Sebastian Schipper rightly honours this achievement by placing the name of Sturla Brandth Grovlen, the director of photography, at the top of the credits. According to Schipper in an interview there were two earlier shootings with which he was not entirely satisfied. The third shooting was the last one and had to work. Underlying the film and the performance of the actors, particularly Laia Costa, Frederick Lau and Franz Rogowski, there is an immediacy that is compelling as all must have known that this last shoot had to work. Given that there are action filled scenes of people clambering up and down stairs and a car chase, not to mention a shoot-out, the camera work is inspired and it is finely assisted by Schipper’s direction. Victoria captures “Real Berlin”. Go see it.