×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Victoria

A pleasant gambol through the backwoods of Quebec with a drag singing duo and a mysterious oldster, "Victoria" is most noteworthy as the first feature helmed by key French New Wave thesp Anna Karina since her 1973 debut, "Living Together."

With:
With: Anna Karina, Jean-Francois Moran, Emmanuel Reichenbach, Woodson Louis, Sophie Desmarais, Sylvie De Morais-Nogueira, Ludvick Guertin, Daniel Rousse. (French, English dialogue)

A pleasant gambol through the backwoods of Quebec with a drag singing duo and a mysterious oldster, “Victoria” is most noteworthy as the first feature helmed by key French New Wave thesp Anna Karina since her 1973 debut, “Living Together.” Dramedy about lost souls finding themselves and old wounds being healed has plenty of goodwill, but not quite the sparkle needed to rise above the comfortably familiar. World preemed at Pusan, pic looks to have sturdy fest legs and claims for limited theatrical exposure, predominantly in French-language territories.

Calling themselves “Les Lolitas,” straight guys Jimmy (Emmanuel Reichenbach) and Stanislas (Jean-Francois Moran) are booed off the stage by the handful of patrons witnessing their woeful drag act. Thrown in jail after being involved in what turns out to be an orchestrated back-alley brawl, the cash-strapped singers are bailed out by cool cat Louis Jardin (Woodson Louis), an impresario of sorts who offers the boys big money to tour Quebec.

Talent has little to do with the duo’s sudden change of fortune. Bankrolling the tour of venues along the St. Lawrence River is Louis’ employer, Victoria (Karina), a mute woman who is unable to remember anything since a tragic incident 30 years ago, but is somehow compelled to keep Les Lolitas in her sights.

Jumping at the chance for what seems like a paid holiday, Jimmy lets his libido run wild and becomes involved with Susanna (Sophie Desmarais), a high-strung drug user who appears to be underage. Less lusty than his showbiz partner, Stanislas finds himself attracted to Pauline (Sylvie De Morais-Nogueira), a hotel worker who looks like a younger version of Victoria.

Karina’s screenplay makes little secret of a connection between Victoria and Stanislas, but this is not detrimental to a yarn that’s much more concerned with lonely people slowly finding happiness than with revelations. Given plenty of room to work off each other, the members of this fine ensemble keep pic on track with restrained playing at meaningful moments and amusing flourishes when the script calls for philosophizing on life’s big questions. With restricted screen time, considering her top-billed status, Karina effortlessly brings charisma to the screen in her in her first feature role since “Moi Cesar, 10 ans 1/2, 1m39” (2003).

HD lensing by Philippe Lavalette is clean and unobtrusive, with several eye-pleasing sequences filmed in remote, snow-covered locations. Big plus is the music score and heartfelt songs by French popster Philippe Katerine, who has recorded and toured with Karina during her long musical career. Lyrics relating to love, loss and memory are strategically positioned to fill in the gaps for characters struggling to find the right words. Rest of the tech package is pro.

Victoria

Canada

Production: A Nadja production. (International sales: Nadja, Montreal.) Produced by Hejer Charf. Directed, written by Anna Karina.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Philippe Lavalette; editor, Mathieu Arsenault; music, Philippe Katerine; costume designer, Eva Bn ; sound (Dolby Digital), Louis Desparois. Reviewed at Pusan Film Festival (World Cinema), Oct. 4, 2008. Running time: 90 MIN.

With: With: Anna Karina, Jean-Francois Moran, Emmanuel Reichenbach, Woodson Louis, Sophie Desmarais, Sylvie De Morais-Nogueira, Ludvick Guertin, Daniel Rousse. (French, English dialogue)

More Film

  • Beatriz Bodegas on Netflix Original: ‘Who

    ‘Who Would You Take to a Desert Island?’ Producer on New Spanish Netflix Original

    BARCELONA – “Who Would You Take to a Desert Island?” is the second directorial outing from Spain’s Jota Linares (“Animales sin collar”) a Netflix Original premiering on Friday, March 22 in competition at the Malaga Spanish Language Film Festival. Starring María Pedraza, Jaime Lorente, Pol Monen and Andrea Ros, the film is the movie adaptation [...]

  • Beijing Festival Unveils 'Max Max,' 'Bourne'

    Beijing Festival Unveils 'Max Max,' 'Bourne,' Kurosawa Screening Series

    The upcoming Beijing International Film Festival will give space to high profile Hollywood franchise movies with screenings of all films in both the “Mad Max” and “Bourne Identity” series. Classic Hollywood fare will also feature prominently in a line-up that, as usual, features an eclectic grab bag of titles. The local government-backed festival opens April [...]

  • J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church

    SXSW Film Review: 'J.R. “Bob” Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius'

    Like 8mm films of 1960s “happenings” or videos of 1970s performance art, “J.R. ‘Bob’ Dobbs and the Church of the SubGenius” chronicles a cultural footnote that perhaps should be filed under the heading You Had to Be There. The satirical-absurdist “religion” founded by some Texans actually caught fire among hipsters in the 1980s, influencing some [...]

  • 'Roll Red Roll' Review: Piercing Documentary

    Film Review: 'Roll Red Roll'

    “Roll Red Roll” is a piercingly relevant and disturbing documentary about an infamous high school rape case that took place in Steubenville, Ohio (pop. 18,600), on Aug. 11, 2012. Steubenville, the sort of Friday-night-lights small town that boasts signs that read “Kick off for Jesus,” is a place that’s good at keeping secrets. When the [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Writers Guild, Hollywood Agents Negotiate With Deadline Looming

    The Writers Guild of America and Hollywood agents have held a sixth negotiating session with a deadline for a new deal 16 days away — and it’s uncertain whether progress is being made. The Association of Talent Agents made counter-proposals at Thursday’s session that contain provisions for more accountability and transparency by agencies for clients [...]

  • Fox Layoffs

    Fox Layoffs Leave Staffers Stunned and Saddened

    Fox employees knew this day was coming. For over a year, the men and women who work at the Century City lot have talked of little else but severance packages and job searches. They knew that when Disney wrapped up its $71.3 billion acquisition of much of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets, thousands [...]

  • Alan Horn Disney

    Disney Clarifies Film Leadership After Harrowing Day of Fox Layoffs

    Following the dismissal of top executives in distribution, marketing and strategy on Thursday, new 20th Century Fox owner Disney has clarified its new top leadership. Five distinct Fox labels and a portion of their leadership have been welcomed into the Disney fold, the company said. This includes Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Family, Fox Searchlight Pictures, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content