9 Leben

Deutschland 2010, Documentary, 100' Director Maria Speth | Camera Reinhold Vorschneider | Screenplay Maria Speth | Sound Ulla Kösterke | Producer Maria Speth Coproduced by ZDF

No fewer than 9,000 young people live rough on the streets of Germany, either temporarily or permanently. 9 Leben (9 Lives) portray just a few of these. Za, for example, whose real name is Elisabeth. At the age of 13, she and her friend Assi began hanging out on Berlin's Alexanderplatz. At the age of 14, she dropped out of Music High School, left home and slept along with her mates on the Alex. Or take Stöpsel who, for years, used to hustle food and drugs on the Breitscheidplatz, another major public square in downtown Berlin. Today, she lives with her husband and five children in the district of Wedding. With a registered address. Or the 31-years-old Krümel who, after twenty years of homelessness, still sleeps the night wherever it is conveniently possible: »There's nowhere I feel at home«, he says.

In 9 Leben, then, Maria Speth lets people like Sunny, Toni, Krümel, JJ, Stöpsel, Soja and Za themselves talk about the emotional hurt and physical damage they have suffered. Yet she also shows their strength and talents. While topics such as family, drug-taking and experiences with the social state, the police and the Youth Welfare Office all serve to give the film a dramaturgical structure, the focus stays on the narrators themselves. Ms Speth does not document their life situations on the street but interviews her subjects against a neutral backdrop in the studio. Over and above that, thanks to this unusual montage of pictures, a contrasting fictive conversation between the different interlocutors emerges.


MARIA SPETH was born 1967 in Bavaria and studied at the Film and Television University »Konrad Wolf« in Potsdam-Babelsberg. Having worked since 1991 as an editing and directing assistant on various cinema and TV films, she has also written several screenplays for films which she also directed. Her feature film debut The Days Between went on to win several awards. Her second film Madonnas, was shown at the Berlinale Film Festival in 2007 as part of the Forum section of the programme and it received the Hesse Film Award the same year. In 2009, Ms Speth founded the Madonnen Film UG production company and made the documentary 9 Leben.


Films by Maria Speth
Anonym (AT) 2009 | Madonnen 2007 | In den Tag hinein 2001 | Barfuß 1999 | Mittwoch 1995

Maria Speth