One take is all it takes for bold German film

Culture Film

“One City. One Night. One Take.”

So reads the tagline for Victoria, a German film directed by Sebastian Schipper, and it’s not lying. The film plays at Cinecenta from Nov. 29 to Dec. 3, and is one of the only movies ever made from a single continuous shot.

Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) won Best Cinematography at the 2014 Academy Awards for being cleverly edited to maintain the appearance of a one-take film, but Victoria uses none of the same tricks.

Filmed using entirely uninterrupted footage, Victoria is named for its lead character, Victoria, a young Spanish woman who has recently moved to Berlin. She begins flirting with a good-looking boy in a nightclub, only to discover he owes a mobster 60 000. Instead of leaving as quickly as possible, Victoria winds up forced to be the getaway driver in a debt-clearing heist. The movie covers the heist and its aftermath, with an intensity amplified by the relentless nature of its filming.

Dr. Peter Gölz, a professor in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies at UVic, will be giving a talk before the movie on Nov. 30.

“As far as I know there have been some movies . . . that sort of [did the same thing],” said Gölz, talking to The Martlet, “but they did some post-production editing. [Victoria] is really one take. Two hours and fourteen minutes.”

The film, which started with only a twelve-page script, is largely improvised, but it only took the cast and crew three attempts to achieve the final product.

Dr. Gölz’s talk will not only focus on the technical impressiveness of the film, but its cultural implications within German cinema.

Victoria is clearly inspired by Lola Rennt [Run Lola Run] a film shot in 1998 by director Tom Tykwer. Both Victoria and Lola Rennt feature similar plots, and their respective directors Schipper and Tykwer are close friends, with Schipper having acted in Lola Rennt.

“[Victoria] is a great movie that . . . I think will replace Lola Rennt in the international consciousness.” said Gölz. “Lola Rennt really saved German movie-making when it came out, in the late ’90s, because there had been such a valley [in terms of quality] . . . and it really turned it around. I mean, you know, Germans can actually after all make good movies as well.

“I think Victoria is the ‘new’ Lola Rennt.”

This comparison is nothing to scoff at. Tykwer’s film marked the revival of German cinema, and is widely considered one of the best German films ever made — which is why the Deutscher Filmpreis, the German equivalent to the Oscars, are nicknamed the “Lola Awards.” Following its release in June 2015, Victoria won six Lola Awards out of seven nominations.

Sponsored by the Germanic and Slavic Studies department, the first 50 students to show up at the Nov. 30 showing will be able to watch the movie for free. It’s a no-risk investment, and Gölz believes it’s worth a lot more than it could cost.

“I think it will be an unforgettable experience,” raved Gölz. “The way it’s presented, it has a coolness factor that is over the top.

“It’s just a totally exciting movie, and . . . it really is the new German cinema.”

Victoria screens at Cinecenta until Dec. 3. For showtimes, visit