Cosmopolitan crimes: Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria (2015) and the distribution of European crime films

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Schleich, Markus
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Film and Screen Media, University College Cork
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German crime films usually only find wide international circulation when they deal with either the two World Wars or the country’s unique position during the Cold War. Victoria (Sebastian Schipper, 2015) is an exception. The film, shot in one continuous take, tells the story of a young woman from Madrid who meets four local Berliners outside a nightclub in the middle of the night and ends up robbing a private bank with them. Without an established auteur or any sizeable star power attached to it, the film managed to travel widely within Europe, made possible by Creative Europe’s funding schemes for distribution. The first section of the article examines the struggles of German crime films to cross the borders, despite the abundant national production of crime films, television series, and literature. The second section focuses on the importance of the distribution scheme that helped Victoria travel and explores how the policies of the MEDIA programme have shaped the European cinema landscape. In the third section, the paper examines how Victoria evokes images and discourses of European society such as disenfranchisement, solidarity, and precarity set in a cosmopolitan Berlin. By analysing the promotional texts, this final section explores how Victoria’s ideal combination of genre, auteurial ambitions and “added European value” granted the film access to support mechanisms which are usually out of reach for a film.
Film funding , Distribution strategies , Promotional texts , Europeanness , European crime films
Schleich, M. (2022) 'Cosmopolitan crimes: Sebastian Schipper’s Victoria (2015) and the distribution of European crime films', Alphaville: Journal of Film and Screen Media, 22, pp. 66-81. doi: 10.33178/alpha.22.05