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Based on the true story of Gisela Werler, Germany’s first female bank robber, BANKLADY relates the sudden transformation of a shy wallflower into a notorious bank robber in the 1960s.

Gisela Werler is 30, single, works in a wallpaper factory, and lives with her parents in modest circumstances. A humdrum middle-class life, no different than that of countless other young women in West Germany in the 1960s. But she has a dream: Capri. And it finally seems within reach when she meets the charming Hermann, cab driver and bank robber. She falls for him, quick and hard. Begs him to take her with him on his bank heists – and proves to be a gifted, if not quite cold-blooded, robber of her own. It’s the beginning of a notorious new duo, the Bonnie and Clyde of suburban Hamburg. And the start of Gisela Werler’s secret life as the “Banklady”.

Though stylized as a sexy, gun-toting robber queen with bags full of money, Gisela always remains polite and avoids bloodshed. One step behind her is Inspector Fischer, who is relentlessly pursuing the pair. The main danger to Gisela and Hermann, however, is their passionate love affair, which makes them reckless. Throwing caution to the winds, they rob one of the most well-guarded banks in the Hamburg area. But Fischer and his men are close by...

Perfectly blending an authentic cops-and-robbers drama and love story, BANKLADY features a fascinating character who attempts to break out of the narrow, gray world of 1960s Germany and becomes a symbol both of social provocation and of the changing view of the sexes.

Christian Alvart was born in 1974. He never attended film school, yet – self-taught – he still managed to make the leap to becoming a director. After teaching himself the craft in various assistant positions, he founded his production company Syrreal Entertainment in 1997 in Berlin. In 1999, he made his feature film debut with CURIOSITY & THE CAT, which was nominated for the Max Ophüls Prize. After his second feature film ANTIBODIES (2005), he moved to Hollywood, where he was able to prove his passion for genre films on a grand scale. For Paramount, he directed horror-thriller FALL 39 (2007), followed by the sci-fi thriller PANDORUM (2008). Back in Germany, Alvart worked as a director for the TATORT series and was hired as the director for the Hamburg episodes of the series featuring Til Schweiger. His thriller BANKLADY was released theatrically in 2013. In 2015, he directed the buddy-comedy HALF BROTHERS followed by the TATORT feature film TSCHILLER - OFF DUTY in 2016. He also serves as showrunner for the Netflix series DOGS OF BERLIN. His production company has acquired the worldwide rights for CAPTAIN FUTURE and is working on a live-action version of the series.
Genre Crime Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2013
Director Christian Alvart
Screenplay Kai Hafemeister, Christoph Silber
Cinematography Ngo The Chau
Cast Nadeshda Brennicke, Charly Hübner, Ken Duken, Andreas Schmidt, Heinz Hoenig, Henny Reents, Niels Bruno Schmidt
Producers Christian Alvart, Sigi Kamml
Production Company Syrreal Entertainment/Berlin, in co-production with Studio Canal/Berlin, in cooperation with NDR/Hamburg, ARD Degeto
Length 117 min
Format HD, DCP, color, cs
Original Version
Subtitled Version English
Festivals Chicago 2013 (International Competition), Warsaw 2013, Festroia 2014, Shanghai 2014
Awards Silver Hugo Best Actress Chicago 2013
With backing from Nordmedia, Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, German Federal Film Fund, German Federal Film Board
German Distributor Studio Canal/Berlin

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