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Ingenious one-take heist film 'Victoria' impresses Berlin

The story follows all-night Berlin clubber Victoria, played by Laia Costa.

German Director Sebastian Schipper (2ndL) poses with (from L) actor Franz Rogowski, actress Laia Costa, and actors Frederick Lau and Burak Yigit at the photocall of his film Victoria presented in the competition of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival Berlinale in Berlin, on 7 February, 2015. Picture: AFP

BERLIN - German heist film Victoria, shot in one take in more than 20 locations, took the idea of single-take films popularised by Birdman to a new level at the Berlin International Film Festival.

"To shoot a film in one take is absolutely moronic but we did it," director Sebastian Schipper said of his film, which had its festival premiere on Saturday night.

The story follows all-night Berlin clubber Victoria, played by Laia Costa, who as she leaves a nightclub becomes embroiled in an armed robbery and its fallout.

"Everything is improvised, everything," Schipper said on the day of the film's premiere.

He added that he had courted disaster on several occasions while filming the movie, which lasts two hours and 20 minutes.

"On the last take, there was a Russian couple and they had been partying -- as they should -- and they saw one of my actors having a panic attack ... and they thought that poor guy is having a panic attack or needs help.

"At first, I was yelling at them 'No, go, step back' and then the guy was a little bit 'What?' 'No, sorry, sorry, sorry we're shooting a film' and then he was all talkative."

Actress Costa said making the film had been a thrill.

"After I did it I was just complaining because I wanted to do it again so when they said after the first shot 'It's done, we have it', I was like 'No, no, no, we have to shoot it again please one more take'," she said.

Trade publication Variety called the film "undeniably a stunt, but one suffused with a surprising degree of grace and emotional authenticity".

Victoria is one of the 19 films in competition at the Berlin festival. The winner will be revealed on Saturday 14 February and will be presented with the Golden Bear.

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