Sebastian Schipper‘s Victoria will be the most stressful film you’ll see this year.
Shot in one full take and not in the Birdman way – this film was shot in one long 2 hour and 18 minute take – Victoria exhausts our minds (in the best way possible), leaving us wanting that much needed break. But it never comes.
The film begins in a strobe-lit club with our lead, Victoria (Laia Costa), a Madrid-native and cafe barista who is just a few months fresh in Berlin. On her way out, she meets a group of guys as they are being ejected from the club and one of them in particular, Sonne (Frederick Lau), is quick to strike conversation. Eager to make friends, Victoria is quickly lured into a night of partying with the close-knit group of four, including an ex-con, Boxer (Franz Rogowski).
Despite having to open up in just a few hours, Victoria invites Sonne into the cafe to continue their budding relationship. A call from Boxer interrupts them when Sonne and the others are asked to help him do a “job.” But since the job calls for four people and one of their friends is too drunk to commit, Victoria agrees to go in his place. The group then learns that their task is to rob a bank, commanded by a gangster who offered Boxer protection in prison. From this moment until the very last scene, we follow the group as they carry out a heist and their getaway in an exhilarating, yet incredibly visceral journey.
Schipper and crew, including first credited DP Sturla Brandth Grovlen, began their process by rehearsing the film in 10-minute segments over the course of 10 days. (Their “script” was actually a 12 page treatment with a lot of room for improvisation). Much of the preparation was figuring out placement of crew, timing and hoping that the actors didn’t break. On his own film, Schipper says, “It’s a one-take movie with a bank robbery, but they’re the most important things and the least important things of the film,” he says. “Going in, maybe that’s important, but I have a feeling that what the true measure of the film’s quality is in the relationships. I sometimes told my actors that the most beautiful, the most horrible, the most funny, the most painful thing that will happen to you in your life is because you’re with somebody. Betrayal, friendship, flirting, fear for your life — well, that could be an animal or a person — but I told them that’s what this is really about, and I needed them to give that to each other” (LA Daily).
After winning multiple awards at Germany’s film festival, including one for outstanding cinematography, Victoria will be released in the U.S. on October 9th, 2015.