If life has only one take, so has this movie. It’s about friendship, the trust and loyalty with each other, the excitement and frustration, the confusion and encounter in a foreign country with a bunch of strangers but you decide to make friend with, and no turning back. Then what happens next?
Victoria this 138-min German film uses one long take to witness this story with the protagonist Vitoria, a Spanish young girl staying in Berlin by herself. Most of the time it follows Vitoria and from her point of view we are pretty much with her the whole time. The camera swings and dances with the main characters to be participate in the story telling, to share the joy and fear in the random events that you could never expect or predict.
Beyond the definition of traditional cinema, it’s no longer a movie, it’s an experience that opens for us. Because we are not longer siting in front of the screen and facing characters and listening to compact dialogue; instead we are behind them most of the time, experience the random topics or words they speak as all of we do in real life. The dialogue is not on point, but natural. Here it’s the realism drag us to unfold the story together.
The film starts with Vitoria in a dancing club by herself speaking English and tries to make friend with the bartender. Here we see a young girl who tries to adapt to a new place and make new friends. All of us at some point of our life would do the same thing when we go to a new place and want to be part of the new experience, but silence is like an knife of isolation even though when you are in a dancing club because you are by yourself the whole time with no one to talk to.
However, the story really starts when she meets the random guys while she is leaving the night club. New conversation slowly cures the “fail to connect” emotion where people refused to connect with her earlier.
Seeing them try to break into a car, Vitoria doesn’t just go away. Maybe in deep, she finds people who are like her, rebellious from the traditional rules and social norms. Just like many of us, sometime we trust strangers, and sometime we embrace the behaviors the society opposes because they make us feel like they are alive, just like us maybe in a different way to express our rebel and differentiate ourselves from the others.
It all comes down to trust, a craving for new experience, and connection with people in a new city. Vitoria wants to make friends with them and begins caring for the new strangers. In the piano playing scene, again Sonne (the character Vitoria falls in love with) pretends he knows how to play piano, where the real piano player Vitoria says after seeing him playing the piano “I begin to fall in love with you.” Knowing him doesn’t know how to play, which she didn’t speak it out; instead, she embraces it.
How many of us could trust strangers at the first place, especially we know that they are maybe fraud in some degree, but they seem like nice people to Victoria. Maybe her loneliness tells her that it’s nothing to lose for making friends with these local people even thought you have questions about what they really do, maybe a store theft? a car theft? a con who pretends someone he is not?
Here film is no longer what you usually do or think in real life, it’s what you would do in your unconscious sense. We like to trust people however the society tells us not to. It’s comprehensive that dangerous people are out there, but if social behaviors and norms are a dress, in this new city you are pretty much naked, and you embrace the changes and put a new clothes on, and why not try something wild?
When Victoria is with her new friends on the rooftop chatting and one scene she tries to sit on the edge where she is facing the street. We get the sense that her character is full of embracing danger and risk. She is open for new experience and likes to put herself in the edge to see how far she could go. Establishing her characteristics effectively however we still couldn’t foresee what gonna happen next. It could be shinning but we don’t know what is behind it. Because new experience is like a pandora box.
If love happens, you are pretty much blind on it. It sounds like a common plot in most of the movies, but here we are pretty much in it. Again it’s about friendship, love and trust, but I wouldn’t go into what’s going on next because it’s pretty much a turn-over and I don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t watched it yet. If mysteries are living in every discovery and you need to discover it yourself.
The character’s decisions and the story following behind are like when you are dragged into a situation where you feel like your decision makes you have no turning back, but only go with what you have embraced once before and no regret afterward.
The most question audiences have is why Vitoria made the decision she made at the first place; no body has forced her to and none of the these would happened if she didn’t step in. Nevertheless, could you see the joy and happiness that they created in the first half of the movie? from a lonely girl dancing in the night club, to someone who involves with friends, and they are laughing around on the street and chatting and starting to care for each other on the rooftop (who cares whose rooftop it is).
Again, film is not necessary about what we would do in real life with social standards, but what we would do if we don’t have the social dress on. Victoria’s characteristics set-up and the story background lures the whole encounter and random events moving in with an inevitable direction and she has to keep up with it in order to get out and to keep the people she cares safe.
With all the fortune and lost you didn’t foresee, and the experience you once craved for and failed to make an happen ending. It’s an emotional breakdown. It’s a “breath on and carry on” mood. We witness a linkable events happening like raindrop falling and we might have done something different but at this moment we have no turn back just because we put trust and friendship at the first place and we embraced the new experience and we are firm with them the whole time.
We are all growing, and in this process we have to take the dilemma situation and the unpredictables in and live with it, even we lost people in a short period time, just like we building up trust with strangers in a short period time. Consequences settled in whether or not you chose upon it, but pretty much determined by your actions. And the actions fall down to a particiluar character with a fixed location, emotions, background, and with a specific timing that simulates it. We are just a prop in an event, or a movie to express meaning with all the control and contradictively with no control at all, once embrace our past and move on.