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The Robber

DER RÄUBER tells the story of a multitalented man: Johann Rettenberger is a successful marathon runner and a serial bank robber. Soberly and precisely he measures his heart rate, strain, stamina and efficiency – both during training runs and bank raids, from which, concealed beneath a ludicrous mask and armed with a pump gun, he takes flight from the police. He lives, undiscovered, with his girlfriend Erika in Vienna. However, his addiction to the passion, the kick, the exercise and the symmetry of the perfect robbery propels him to take off for a regular fix – as much as three times a day. When he is discovered, he bolts, as fast as his legs will carry him, from a massive police cavalcade. Somebody like Johann has no goal: he keeps on running because what he seeks is a pure and permanent state of motion. His flight forces him to press on and on – but he has no intention of ever arriving.

Benjamin Heisenberg’s current work, his second as a director after SCHLÄFER, is an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Martin Prinz which was based on real crimes committed in Austria. The film portrays its robber-protagonist as a top athlete and practitioner of his trade; an endorphin junkie, who is also both a lover and someone in search of freedom. Benjamin Heisenberg: “I see him as a kind of a natural phenomenon, driven by innate energy that forces him to take bank robbing and running to its limits. On the other hand, he also needs to live and to love and seeks an affectionate relationship – these are dramatic contradictions indeed.”

[Synopsis courtesy of the Berlin International Film Festival]

Stations of the Cross

Maria finds herself caught between two worlds. At school this 14-year-old girl has all the typical teenage interests, but when she’s at home with her family she follows the teachings of the Society of St. Pius XII and their traditionalist interpretation of Catholicism. Everything that Maria thinks and does must be examined before God. And since the Lord is a strict shepherd, she lives in constant fear of committing some misconduct. Whilst Maria’s mother takes a tough line in compelling her daughter to stay on the path of righteousness, her father is often reticent and stands back during critical moments. Conflicts intensify as arguments erupt with teachers and doctors. Desperate to please everyone, Maria soon finds herself trapped in the crossfire. (Synopsis courtesy of Berlin International Film Festival)