The Whisky Robber: Nimrod Antal’s homecoming
by Fabien Lemercier
- After several US titles, the director of Kontroll is going back to Hungary for a film starring Bence Szalay, Moga Piroska and Zoltan Schneider
Saturday 11 June will mark the beginning of principal photography for Nimrod Antal’s sixth feature film, The Whisky Robber. The Los Angeles-born University of Theatre and Film Arts Budapest alumnus of Hungarian descent made a name for himself with his first feature film, Kontroll [+see also:
film profile] (unveiled in 2003 in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard and which earned him a nomination for Best Director at the European Film Awards in 2004), before returning to the US for Vacancy (2007), Armored (2009), Predators (2010) and Metallica: Through the Never (2013). For what will be his second feature in Hungarian, the director has called upon a cast featuring young actor Bence Szalay, Moga Piroska (Aglaja) and Zoltan Schneider (Dear Betrayed Friends).
The script delves into the very eventful life of the infamous Attila Ambrus, who inspired Julian Rubinstein’s novel Ballad of the Whiskey Robber. A Magyar born in Romanian Transylvania, this colourful character made for Hungary in 1988, at the age of 20, requesting political asylum and pursuing a string of extraordinary careers: grave digger, pelt smuggler, professional ice-hockey goalkeeper… before turning his hand to bank robbery in 1993, becoming a sort of “gentleman burglar”, always polite, never spilling any blood, giving flowers to the employees of the establishments he robbed, leaving bottles of champagne addressed to his pursuers, and giving the police only one clue to go by – the scent of whisky wafting through the air. In a country in the midst of a transition between the end of communism and impending capitalism, he quickly became a national icon nicknamed “the Robin Hood of the Eastern Bloc”. Arrested in 1999, he managed to escape soon afterwards, resulting in a well-publicised manhunt.
Produced by Tamas Hutlassa for Café Film (responsible for Kontroll, as well as the release of Isti Madarasz’s Loop in cinemas in April, currently in post-production with Gabor Herendi’s Kincsem – read the article – and which co-produced Land of Storms [+see also:
interview: Adam Csaszi
film profile]), The Whisky Robber has backing from the Hungarian National Film Fund, which will also take care of the film’s international sales, and is slated for a 2017 release. The 70 days of shooting will take place across 130 different sites, with Peter Szatmari (Dealer [+see also:
film profile], Womb [+see also:
film profile], Liza, the Fox-Fairy [+see also:
interview: Karoly Ujj Mészáros
film profile]) serving as DoP.
(Translated from French)