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Life is All You Get (1997)

Das Leben ist eine Baustelle. (original title)
After he loses his job, his father, and his girlfriend, Jan's life is a shambles. Then suddenly he meets freakish street musician Vera, and a bittersweet romance unfolds...


Wolfgang Becker
7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Jürgen Vogel ... Jan Nebel
Christiane Paul ... Vera
Ricky Tomlinson ... Buddy
Hristina Papamihou Hristina Papamihou ... Kristina
Martina Gedeck ... Lilo
Armin Rohde ... Harri
Rebecca Hessing Rebecca Hessing ... Jenni
Andrea Sawatzki ... Sylvia
Frank-Michael Köbe Frank-Michael Köbe ... Zivi 1
Rainer Werner Rainer Werner ... Zivi 2
Uwe Richter Uwe Richter ... Polizist 1 / Möbelträger 2
Frank Kessler Frank Kessler ... Polizist 2
Oliver Meschke Oliver Meschke ... Polizist 3
Hans Seck Hans Seck ... Mann mit Hund
Klaus Dieter Stenzel Klaus Dieter Stenzel ... Mieter (as Klaus Stenzel)


Jan Nebel is young man who is fired from his job at the slaughterhouse after he beats up two civil-dressed cops at a street riot. Soon thereafter his father dies, and Jan moves to his apartment, sharing it with former co-worker Buddy and girlfriend Vera. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


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Did You Know?


Harri: You might want to ask before you take something.
Jenni: May I drink some coke?
Harri: I still miss the magic word.
Jenni: Asshole.
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References Top Gun (1986) See more »


That'll Be the Day
Written by Buddy Holly (uncredited), Norman Petty (uncredited) and Jerry Allison (uncredited)
Arrangement by Christian Steyer
Performed by [Gesungen von] Ricky Tomlinson & Anja Krabbe
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User Reviews

Something of a dud
21 March 2006 | by rooprectSee all my reviews

As I'm a fan of contemporary German cinema (Becker, Tykwer, Wenders), I was thrilled to find a copy of this unknown work. The first 10 minutes sets up a fantastic premise (not your usual boy-meets-girl in a coffee shop), and the next 30 minutes draws us into the odd lives of 4 mysterious, unemployed dreamers who meet each other in equally strange ways. Sounds great, right? Add to this the creative style of Wolfgang Becker and Tom Tykwer, and how can it go wrong?

Well, I'm not sure how it went wrong, but it definitely did.

In a classic example of "good idea, no substance", this film begins to deflate around the halfway mark with no backbone to hold it up. The interesting lives we had been led to anticipate turn out to be rather commonplace. Dialogue is so sparse it's negligible. And the plot falls back to a series of boring clichés--the kinds which you can overhear in any bar at closing time if you're patient enough to listen. It reminds me very much of Wim Wenders' early unscripted work (Paris Texas) which begins famously but thins out into oblivion. Or maybe it's like a Lenny Kravitz song that starts with a cool guitar riff but goes nowhere but boredom.

I would recommend this film to fans of "mood" rather than "substance". If you are a fan of Godard, Bela Tarr, or movies where Ethan Hawke plays the lead (Reality Bites, Before Sunset), then you may enjoy this. However if you're a fan of Kieslowsky, Kubrick, Herzog or typically the filmmakers who pack a hidden message, I would suggest you pass on this one.

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Release Date:

20 March 1997 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

A Vida É Tudo Que Temos See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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