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Film director Benjamin Heisenberg on The Robber

Sunday 23 January 2011, by Abla Kandalaft

Director Benjamin Heisenberg talks to us about his film The Robber after it premiered at the Paris Film Festival in July 2010.

How did you adapt the novel, which was itself based on a true story?

The novel is by Martin Prinz. He put together the two strands of the story: the successful runner and the masked robber. The weird thing was that even after his identification he still managed to get away. We bought the rights to the story and met many people who knew the protagonist, as well as police officers. The editing took a long time so we could decide what to include and what to leave out. We changed the ending a bit. In the film he is dying slowly, as he is running, escaping, somehow like an animal.

Was it a conscious choice to avoid a psychological approach into the reasons behind the runner’s behaviour?

I wanted to avoid a psychological approach. The reasons he does what he does are secondary to the energy that motivates him. It is this energy that pushes him forward and that guides him and that’s what we wanted to focus on.
He clearly doesn’t do it for the money, in fact, the cash is stashed under his bed; he doesn’t even spend it.

Why did he kill the probation officer?

The officer is talking to him at a peculiar moment in the film. He has arrived at a sort of crossroads, he is aware he might not be able to continue on this path and tension is building inside him. He has this man who is speaking in psychological, rational terms, following him and continuously speaking and he reacts instinctively to shut him up.

What role does love play in his actions?

He is capable of falling in love and there comes a point where he realises he has to change in order to make his relationship work. But he is incapable of taming this energy and love brings about his downfall. Love is just part of the overall tragedy.

Read the review in Big Screen

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