olivia’s review published on Letterboxd:
grabbing my attention right off the bat with a catchy house EDM beat and an epileptic level of flashing lights (my retinas are fine thanks for asking), victoria is certainly a film that visually astounds and eclipses transcendentality with dousing vitality, in the most subtly exuberant of ways, with a pastel-ish palette, and is wrapped with a bow of genuine, true-to-life characters who felt extremely real and almost touchable. the dialogue felt so free and unrehearsed (i'm later told that a large majority of this was improvised and shot in one take, which explains the freshness it exuded), and the movie had a really nice infusion of macro-cinematography. this style of filming -- with the close up shots and even the shakiness -- made it feel so authentic and personal. not as though you were watching characters on a screen, but as though you were there with them living in these moments. and this same honest and unassuming sense of self that the film had, it carried over into the portrayal of love, which was so speedily depicted, but that was what made it so convincing and believable and tangible.
a lot of times with films i sometimes find myself wondering "how much longer until it's over" (does that go against what a cinephile is supposed say about themselves?), especially with some of the films i've been watching lately (exhausting experimentals), but with victoria i felt the complete opposite. like i could've sat for hours with this berlin breeze and anxiety. not to mention victoria's gorgeous piano playing. i could almost feel it all washing over me, bathed in a mixture of hypnotic unease and thrilling entrancement. what a juxtaposition.
i was advised to go into this knowing nothing about the plot or what to expect (thank you torben for your recommendation, as always <3), so that's what i did, and man it was a wild and shocking ride with a LOT of anxiety and painful anticipation. i've never been on that kind of emotional rollercoaster before, to the point where i could barely breathe or speak (seriously somebody get me my inhaler that was intense!!!). the way everything was captured at such a rapidly declining pace, in a single take... truly remarkable, and it's a whirlwind technique that i will remember and admire forever.
our titular character here rolls (perhaps carelessly) with the respective punches, which made me soooo nervous from the very beginning because i was like why is she being so trusting of strangers in a country she does not know??? that's how girls get killed, just saying.. maybe the film gave its own internal foreshadowing, or maybe it was my own intuitive premonition, but i just knew i had a really sickening feeling that something bad was going to happen, almost from the moment the film started. as the story progressed (digressed?) i felt an overwhelming amount of dread and empathy (what a cocktail) for the characters, to the point of feeling almost physically ill. the actors were all phenomenal, but i must make special mention of laia costa, who blew me away beyond words with her verve and vivality, especially in those last final earth-shattering minutes.
despite the watching experience being hellish on my poor nerves (and perhaps having a bit of a breakdown afterwards) ((and as always i apologize for my lack of brevity)), this is a powerful piece of cinema with such emotional depth, vast pools of vulnerability, and the most touching of scores. every breath of music was visceral and could be felt in each one of my nerve endings. this film will make you feel so deeply for people you know you shouldn't empathize with, but you do. they are connected to each other, you are connected to them, and in this tethering binds the souls of all humankind. this film caused a raw, primal, animalistic sensation in me, and i've never had this strong of a reaction to anything i've watched, ever. this impacted me in a big way. this film is beautiful and i am shaken to my core. this wrecked me and i said danke!
(part of my priority watchlist of 2019)