Victoria (2015)

Nightlife in Berlin is exciting for a young expat, a girl from Madrid. After the screening a lively conversation can start: is she naive or does she know what she is doing? Is she daringly exploring her world, or is she having a quarterlife crisis? Is she a drop-out or just enjoying a gap year?
Victoria opens on a dance floor, the camera pushing through the strobe-lit crowd and settling on the titular young woman (Laia Costa) as she moves alone, tying her tangle of sweaty hair back behind her ears in an erotic, evocative image of confidence and loneliness. This superb sequence allows us to intuitively understand that Victoria's ready for something—that she's almost consciously reaching her figurative hand out to be taken by whoever's astute enough to detect the gesture. In the tradition of most thrillers, it's disaster that answers.”
“ The film is a rollercoaster ride. On its two hour and 20 minute journey, it sets up anticipation, speeds up, slows down, loops back on itself, before a finish that will have your heart beating faster than it’s ever done in any Marvel movie.
Spanish actress Laia Costa plays Victoria. The action starts with her knocking back a shot and leaving a club. At the exit, she meets four “real Berliners”, they converse with her in broken English and they convince Victoria to join them for a drink on a rooftop. As she flirts with Sun, played by Frederick Lau, you settle in to watch a romantic tale along the lines of Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise. Then Schipper pulls the tablecloth from under the crockery and all the dishes smash on to the floor.
For all the technical wizardry, the Hanover-born director was always aware that, first and foremost, he had to please the audience: “There is the experiment and the craziness of it, but, of course, it has to be a good film. At the end, you want to entertain.”
The decision to have a Spanish girl speak English to a German group came because the director wanted to celebrate Europe and reflect the reality of the German capital. “It had to do with Berlin,” says Schipper. “But it also has to do with our times. I wanted this European aspect. I wanted this aspect of Berlin, being a little refuge for people of Europe. The solidarity amongst young people is very touching, they stand for each other, they help each other, and of course, it’s no coincidence that she comes from Spain. I didn’t want her to come from Greece, because that would make it super political, but obviously she is coming from a place that is not doing so good, and she is coming to a country Germany, and we are doing really, really good.”
The director
Sebastian Schipper is an interesting director, based in Berlin and part of the energetic group around production company X- Filme Creative Pool. He was first known as an actor, appearing in small roles in Winter Sleepers (Winterschläfer, Tom Tykwer 1997) and Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt, Tom Tykwer 1998) among others.
His career as a director started in 1999. He directed a hilarious comedy, Absolute Giants (Absolute Giganten), a smash hit in Germany, but rarely seen anywhere else. In 2006, he directed himself and Daniel Brühl in A Friend of Mine (Ein Freund von mir) a mundane film about men who love fast cars. Even more poorly received was his 2009 effort, Sometime in August (Mitte Ende August), loosely based on Goethe’s novel Elective Affinities (Die Wahlverwandtschaften).
Victoria premiered at the Berlinale 2015. The Dutch release followed in August 2015, preceded by a pre-release screening at Pluk de Nacht Open Air Film Festival in Amsterdam.
On 22 February 2017 a special screening was organised by student club ESN-Rotterdam and Studium Generale of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, presented as Kino Klub Goethe on the Campus.
D. 2015, 138 min.
directed by Sebastian Schipper