Benno Furmann in the feature film "Volt" © Felix Gemein
Actor Benno Furmann plays a police officer in the near future who kills a fugitive and can’t cope with his guilt in the gloomy feature film Volt. In an interview, he talks about social responsibility.
Interviewer: Why did you decide to act in this film??
Benno Furmann (film and television actor): It is a timely topic that concerns us in Germany, the EU and in the world. For me as an actor who is intensely involved with the role, the subject of guilt is exciting. If, like Volt, you don’t dare to tell the truth because the experience is fresh and you can’t classify it. And then the guilt becomes a stone that you can’t handle. You want to catapult it out of your body, spit it out. This is very exciting.
our site: The policeman Volt in the film can be very merciless in his job. But now he has killed a fugitive in hand-to-hand combat. Why does this concern him so much??
Furmann: Volt kills in the heat of the moment, and he can’t quite explain it himself. After all, we can’t always explain our actions either. Fortunately I was protected from such acts by myself. But not every murderer is cold-blooded. And the interesting thing is that even with cold-blooded murderers there is a need for atonement. After all, we all want to belong to the human community. No one wants to be an outcast. That’s why even the toughest guys go to the police after walking around with their guilt for years, but then say I can’t anymore. I want to acknowledge my guilt now, I want to express it and be punished and then be reintegrated into society. And so it is with Volt. He walks through his world with his guilt and becomes more and more isolated. And at some point he seeks contact with the sister of the murdered man.
our site: He sneaks back to the scene of the crime at night in the hermetically sealed transit zone. His colleagues, however, are not at all interested in finding a culprit ..
Furmann: Because they are concerned about their own existence. If it came out that this special police unit, which is in disrepute anyway, still had the dead "Blacky", such an internal police slang like in Cologne the Nafris, on its conscience, then the troop would be disbanded. They live very simply and in safety, but the walls of their living rooms have also become more porous. They no longer have as much social and emotional protection. And so, for everyone involved, it is ultimately a matter of survival. No one is stable. And I think that’s a reflection of our society as well. Fear in Germany is greater than it was a few years ago. A few years ago we could not imagine a war. Hopefully we will never have to experience that either, but we can’t quite rule it out any more either. Social protection has become weaker. We know we can fall through the social net more quickly. This is also reflected in its own way in our film.
Interviewer: In her film, the law of the strongest prevails in the transit zones. Without values like charity, no one is to blame, everyone can do what they like. Are these values in danger today?
Furmann: I think so. Especially in the right-wing spectrum, you always look for the enemies on the outside. It doesn’t make sense. I think it helps to just take a look at yourself in the mirror. Only when you have tidied yourself up halfway, you can start to deal with the other person in such a way that you can really criticize him. This unbridled hatred that is on the internet right now is just an indicator of things that are fundamentally wrong. Nobody can tell me that this hatred started with the first refugee who set foot on German soil. It was there before. And even when the last refugee has been expelled from the country, the hatred will not be gone. One must therefore think much more intensively about how it can be that I always look for the blame at the bottom, for example, with refugees.
Interviewer: And where does this hatred come from??
intercessor: There are interrelationships that I think are not talked about enough in this context. Is it not possible that social injustice or the misery of my life has other causes than the refugee movement – for example, in the boardrooms of large corporations?? The social market economy used to be more social than it is today. As an employee, you are much more interchangeable and dismissible than before. Many things are going completely wrong in the current discussion: the security debate is permanently mixed up with the refugee debate. As if every refugee were a full-bearded bomb-thrower – then we Germans would all have to be Nazis. I object to that, too, don’t I. We are human beings! Especially on the Internet and in digital media, there is a great danger that people will generalize and no longer perceive people as human beings; instead, the debate is conducted anonymously from a distance. It is dangerous if we stop giving people a face. I believe in personal encounter.
our site: Whoever does not commit himself to other people is guilty?
Furmann: I believe that to the extent that we fail to help other people, we must blame ourselves for failing to help them.
The interview was conducted by Birgitt Schippers.