Der Lebensversicherer / Running on Empty 2006, 100 mins, in German with English subtitles Director: Bulent Akinci, Cast: Jens Harzer, Marina Galic, Anna Maria Mühe, Tom Jahn, Eva Mannschott, Oliver Marlo, Christian Blümel
Awards: Best Actor (Jens Harzer), Special mention and a diploma of The 28th MIFF Jury of the Russian Guild of Film Critics, Moscow International Film Festival 2006; DIALOGUE en Perspective (Bülent Akinci), Berlin International Film Festival 2006
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Running on Empty
Insurance agent Burkhard Wagner (Jens Harzer) has decided not to return home until he has closed enough deals to dig his family out of misery. He turns into the Flying Dutchman of Germany’s motorways, embarks on a year-long odyssey and contact with the family boils down to leaving odd reports on the answering machine. Behind the routine details of an insurance agent’s life meeting his unfortunate customers - most of them déclassé, thrown out by prosperous society – one sees a metaphor. “Closer and closer is the moment when he’ll be able to regain his family, his home and himself. The question remains – where is his home, where is Burkhard himself? Will the endless tape of a road, this lonely ‘life insurer’ is driving along, ever let him go?” (Larisa Malyukova, FIPRESCI). Only after a miraculous encounter with a woman running a roadside motel, he does find peace. A deeper understanding seems to connect them. The hapless landlady tries to open his eyes to reality, but Burkhard is afraid of waking up and takes severe measures to end his apparently endless journey. Director/Writer Bülent Akinci’s first full-length feature Running on Empty is a sombre, desperate and atmospheric road-movie, in which Jens Harzer (also in Hans-Christian Schmid’s Requiem) has brilliantly rendered the state of mind of a hunted down, lost soul.
Born in Ankara on 10.3.1967, he moved to Berlin in 1970. He was a musician, security guard and an insurance salesman before taking final school examinations and studying philosophy, art history, drama and film at the FU in Berlin. He took up studies at the German Film and Television Academy in Berlin in 1996. "Der Lebensversicherer" is his first feature-length drama.
Source: 56. Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin (catalogue)
2005/2006 Der Lebensversicherer, Screenplay,Director
2000/2001 Eine kleine Geschichte, Producer,Director
1995 Die letzten Bilder, Director