GERMAN CINEMA NOW! – 9 Lives (9 Leben)

Screen this title on this page
Jul. 22 from 5–11pm PDT

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** This film is only available to viewers in the US, Canada, and Mexico. **

Maria Speth
1h 45m


The monthly Goethe Pop Up Film Series GERMAN CINEMA NOW!, curated by Jasmin Krakenberg, supports artistic works that amplify a plurality of voices and experiences to inspire public dialogue.

About the film:

9 Lives introduces young people from different strata of society who chose to live on the street. Rather than showing the young people on the streets, the films chooses to place them against the neutral background of a studio, where they talk about themselves, facing the running camera. The filmmaker limits herself to a few remarks or questions from off screen. What unites the young people are broken life stories, neglect by parents and family, domestic violence, social prejudices, homelessness, and drug addiction. And yet, despite all the destruction and painful experiences, each individual is endowed with remarkable strength and talent, which form the focus of the film.

Through its distanced presentation, the respect for the personality of each individual, and the renunciation of media-typical voyeurism and sensationalism, the film awakens the audience’s understanding for the social problems of young people, their injuries, and their existential crises. In this manner, each black-and-white moving portrait comes to light in a gallery-like space that is reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests, in which the Pop artist aimed “to find great people and let them be themselves.” 9 Lives turns “bums” and “punks” into screen stars – and rightly so.

About the filmmaker:

Maria Speth is an award-winning filmmaker who is often associated with the so-called Berlin School of German filmmaking. She studied at the “Konrad Wolf” University of Film and Television in Babelsberg and worked as an editing and directing assistant on various films and TV programs. She wrote/directed award-winning films, including the short film Barefoot (Barfuss, 1999, 3sat Award Oberhausen), her feature debut The Days Between (In den Tag Hinein, 2001, VPRO Tiger Award Rotterdam, Grand Prix du Jury Créteil, MFG Star), Madonnas (Madonnen, 2007, Hessian Film Award, Silver Astor Mar del Plata), 9 Lives (9 Leben, 2011, German Director’s Award Metropolis, DEFA Foundation’s Incentive Award, Open Eyes Youth Jury Award), and Daughters (Töchter, 2013). The University of Toronto, the University of Waterloo, and the Goethe-Institut Toronto presented her first retrospective in Canada in 2015.

Speth’s work often focuses on women who, in many ways, refuse to accept societal roles and common moral concepts.

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