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Victoria

Directed by Sebastian Schipper

Germany, 2015

HOME, 5 April 2016

Victoria

A young woman, a Spanish pianist, hooks up with a quartet of hoodlums – blood brothers, like in Haffner’s classic novel of that name – one night in Berlin.

When one of these hoodlums – a birthday boy who has had too much to drink – passes out, they persuade her to come along to drive their car while they do ‘this thing’. The ‘thing’ in question being, as it turns out, a bank robbery. After that, some big fallout follows.

I enjoyed this film very much. It seems meandering but actually sets a fair propulsive pace. Accident and happenstance engender seeming accident and happenstance, but it’s all been worked out in advance. There are echoes of Godard’s A bout de souffle towards the close. Laia Costa in the title role is excellent: an intrepid ingenue. And Frederick Lau as Sonne, one of hoodlums, has all the charm of a young Brandauer – as the writer and director Sebastian Schipper, at least, must have realised: Victoria plays the Mephisto Waltz for him in one scene.

You see the outskirts of the Tiergarten dimly through a car window but it is not actually a Berlin travelogue.

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