Archiv der Kategorie: Sebastian Schipper

Berlinale 2015: Day 11 and Wrap-up

By Sascha Krieger

Eleven days have a rather annoying quality: they pass by rather quickly. Just now, it seems, you discussed the prospects of this year’s Berlinale, what kind of festival it would be, how high its quality – and already, it is time again to glance back at it as you enter the long, 12-month wait for its next edition. So, let’s do this in the fast, short, fleeting way the festival deserves. To put it shortly: it turned out to be a good one feature the strongest Competition in years and a fine and extremely diverse slate of entries in the other section. Strong women were supposed to be a major feature of the festival and they were – though their more impressive appearances were in the smaller, ordinary ones rather than the large heroine’s tales such as Isabel Coixet’s opening film or Werner Herzog’s artistic disaster Queen of the Desert, easily the Berlinale’s worst film this year. Oh yes, the big names: they tended to disappoint, such as Herzog, Terrence Malick, Wim Wenders (though this reviewer can only gather from hear-say). The Berlinale, however, is a festival of discoveries and this edition was no exception. A large number of first-time directors even in Competition impressed, some of the greatest and most insightful films came from countries such as Guatemala, Chile, Vietnam or Romania. The German film had a mixed year but at least Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria proved that German filmmakers occasionally dare experiment.

Winner of the Golden Bear: Taxi (© Berlinale)

Winner of the Golden Bear: Taxi (© Berlinale)

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Berlinale 2015: Day 3

By Sascha Krieger

Victoria (Competition / Germany / Director: Sebastian Schipper)

A throbbing techno heath, pulsating blurred silhouettes in an equally rhythmically changing blue light. Slowly, the camera moves into focus, finding its object in the face of a young, happily dancing girl. It will end over two hours later with the comers slowly losing her. In between, well there’s little less than the whole of life and death in a nutshell. Victoria is an exceptional film: shot in real-time and in a single day (total filming took three days with the entire film being shot three separate times), it depicts the chance meeting of a young Spanish woman with a young Berlin men and his group of friends and their subsequent journey through the Berlin night. Its first half is a stunning impressionistic look at a city that never sleeps, young people on a hectic quest for life before its too late. The camera moves nervously through the city, taking in and beating in its pulse. Later, suddenly, the stakes change and Victoria turns into a full-blown thriller that leaves out little. This, too, is the Berlin light, is the dark side of this life-seeking, breathless, intoxicated tumble, that even leaves room for a moment of love, playful, fresh and raw.  This, too, is true for Victoria, a breathless, panicky, crazy tour de force which might be a little too long, take a turn too many but none of this really matters. Victoria is the pure force of life brought to the screen. And this sure is quite a lot.

Love & Mercy (© Francois Duhamel)

Love & Mercy (© Francois Duhamel)

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