In 2014, Birdman broke new ground for film-making in general. Not only for its unique story but also for the attention it received for the creative and unique editing tricks it used that made it seem that the entire film was done in one impossibly long and drawn out shot without any edits or cuts. It was unlike anything ever attempted before – besides maybe Russian Ark – and it set a new standard for filmmakers for generations to come.
Yet the film Victoria has found some way to top it. An entire movie filmed in one long continuous shot for over two hours. It could be argued that something like that would not only seem impossible but the idea of it laughable especially when you consider that one long continuous shot means one take. One flub over a line, one trip up, any mistake no matter how small it might seem and the movie as a whole is ruined.
The opening is nothing short of visually stunning as it begins with its titular “Victoria” played by Laia Costa, dancing in a seedy Berlin rave club with strobing lights flashing all around her, framing her against the general dim lighting of nightclub in the background. Upon leaving the club she runs into a group of drunk young men who instantly try and make a move on her. The most coherent of the group Sonne actually makes a connection with her and after a quick conversation, Victoria agrees to tag along with the group for drinks on a nearby rooftop.
Given how the plot and general story is told in real time. The first half of the movie only seems to serve as a prolong for the second half of the movie. In all honestly beyond the first initial meeting, nothing much seems to happen. Trust me when I say that just builds up the anticipation for the second half of the movie which is among the most intense and heart pounding you’re ever likely to see. So maybe it’d be cruel to go into details of the second half when the film is best experienced blind.
It can’t be denied that this movie pushes their cast hard. Not only do they need to act intensely and continuously for almost three hours but also alongside that the dialogue is mostly improvised. The fact that these actors deliver powerful performances is nothing short of remarkable and lifts the movie above being just a stunt of cinematography and turns it into nothing short of a cinematic triumph.
Showing in the IFI from 1st April