Review: Victoria

Written and directed by Daniel Toledo Saura, a florist receives a surprise visit from her ex-wife, uneasy at the next round of coming out. Starring: Lorena López and Abril Zamora.

You may recognise Zamora from her recent performance alongside Sophia Loren in The Life Ahead, and she brings a similar spirit to this role. She creates a bold, confident, intelligent and forthright personality in her character, making her very satisfying to watch. López provides the other half of the same coin, similarly intelligent and purposeful but with an edge of confusion, insecurity and worry. The two of them have a great chemistry, the conversation flows naturally, those senses of a long relationship, commitment and sincere friendship which surround their characters are all effortlessly present. Not only that but their story is one that comes with a lot of tension and most of it is unspoken, López and Zamora bring it forth easily with their body language, with both subtlety and clarity.

One of the unmissable qualities to this film is its colour, the visual is immediately full of energy, it’s bright, sharp and lively. Balanced with the choice of ratio and shot style of the film, it creates a brilliant blend of charisma to the film, it’s relentlessly vibrant. If Saura can take the leap into a feature with the colour, energy, vivacity and sincerity with which he made this film, then it will be a winner. It has an enveloping quality, that’s difficult not to get drawn in by.

The story itself is simple yet tackles a complex topic, discussing public perception of trans people, especially in relation to their children and how it affects them. The way its structured means that a lot of it doesn’t need to be said aloud, the actors signal the emotions and frustrations when dialogue is unnecessary. As well as having a good dose of tension, the pace of their dialogue is infectiously fast, it’s a very satisfying back and forth, one that feeds into the feeling of their established history. It has an argumentative vein but their conversation never turns anything but civil, that pleasant tone almost makes it more enticing.

Victoria is sharp, colourful, smart and beguiling. Lorena López and Abril Zamora make a perfectly matched pair, both bringing a strong, persuasive presence. It balances tension, love and separation with an artful hand, moving at a great pace with a satisfying speed to its dialogue. Daniel Toledo Saura has shown a significant talent in his first short film as both writer and director, you can only hope they’ll be more like this in his future.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯ ½

Reviewed as part of BFI Flare

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