Sebastian Schipper

, /10

Sebastian Schipper (Germany, 1968)

Absolute Giganten (1999)

Ein Freund von mir/ A Friend of Mine (2006)

Mitte Ende August/ Sometime in August (2009), inspired by Goethe's novel "Elective Affinities"

Victoria (2015) is almost a documentary: the film is shot at night as a continous stream with no time jumps. The pace is therefore very slow. We spend most of the time listening to conversations and watching facial expressions. The heroine is a lonely soul who has never had any kind of excitement in her life, and is looking for meaning in her life.

After leaving a dance club late at night Victoria, a Spanish girl, is entertained by a group of young men, half drunk. They roam the deserted streets, steal beer from a conveniency store, fight with another group of men, smoke pot on the roof of a building, etc. She is amused by their happy-go-lucky attitude and even excited by crime. Sonne flirts politely with Victoria. Victoria is a poor, lonely immigrant who works for a cafe and needs to open the cafe. Sonne offers to walk with her. At the cafe she plays the piano for him and confesses that she is a failed classical pianist, and that she paid a social price for spending so much time training as a musician. While she wipes off some tears, Sonne gets a call from his friends. The friends pick up Sonne and Victoria sees that they steal a car parked in front of the cafe. She smiles amused. However, one of the friends, Fuss, can barely walk, probably stoned and drunk. Minutes later they are back because Fuss is clearly unable to perform whatever duty he was supposed to. Sonne and Boxer get into a heated argument in German that Victoria cannot understand. Boxer tells Sonne that they cannot cancel the meeting, and that they need three people and a driver. A desperate Boxer talks Sonne into asking Victoria to take Fuss' place. Surprisingly, Victoria is eager to get involved in what appears very shady business. While in jail, Boxer was helped by gangster Andi, and now Andi needs a favor from Boxer that Boxer cannot refuse. Boxer doesn't know what exactly Andi wants, except that he wants three people and a driver. Victoria drives them in the stolen car to the meeting place. Andi is a cold ruthless man. He wants money from Boxer and offers him a bank heist. Boxer says he will find the money in some other way. Andi says he will keep the girl until Boxer delivers the money. As one of Andi's gangsters grabs the girl, Sonne accepts to rob the bank. Andi gives them guns, hats, gloves and tells them to sniff cocaine. Under the influence of cocaine, they argue and scream, but reach the bank and carry out the plan. Everything goes well (other than Victoria's hysterical attack when the car dies) and they dump the car in a back alley, forgetting the unconscious Fuss. Victoria is happy. The sun is rising. They walk to the dance club to celebrate. Still under the influence of cocaine, Sonne and Victoria kiss and joke. But the others misbehaving and the friends are kicked out of the club. Then they realize that Fuss is still in the car and walk back to pick him up. They go back to retrieve Fuss but the police has already found the car. They run away, chased by the police. They start shooting and the police shoot back. Two are wounded. Boxer tells Sonne and Victoria to take the money and run while he stalls the cops. Sonne leads Victoria into an apartment after terrorizing the tenants, a couple with a little child in a cradle. Breathless, and still under the influence, Sonne and Victoria try to come up with a plan. The police is using loudspeaker to warn the neighborhood of the two armed suspects on the loose. Victoria wears the clothes of the woman and decides to take her baby, hoping that the diguise will help them avoid the police. Down the stairs they meet the police that is entering the building wearing bulletproof vests and holding machine guns. As Victoria promised to the mother, they drop the baby the moment they are outside the building. They take a taxi to a hotel. It looks like they made it, but Sonne has been hiding a wound: he has been shot too. They learn from the TV news that their friends have been killed by the police. Sonne's wound is getting worse and Victoria has no choice but to call the emergency number. Too late: Sonne dies. Victoria cries, stares at the dead body, stares at the money. Then she picks up the money and walks out while the phone is ringing. She gets out of the hotel and walks along the deserted sidewalks as a new day is beginning.
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