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9 Lives

GER 2010, 105 min

A very powerful and original documentary on youth.


The film portrays the fates of several youths who decided at an early age – some as young as eleven, twelve or thirteen years old – to leave home, only to end up living on the streets temporarily or permanently. Sunny, Toni, Krümel (“Crumb”), JJ, Stöpsel (“Plug”), Soja and Za are all physically and emotionally hurt, and could have already lived nine lives. Despite all this destruction, they are endowed with remarkable strength and talent, which forms the focus of the film. Rather than documenting their lives on the street, the film concentrates on how their personalities materialize as they discuss their lives in front of a neutral backdrop in a studio. In this manner, cinematic portraits come to light like in an exhibition or art space. Prejudices and clichés about “bums” and “punks” vanish as the remarkable uniqueness of the youths comes to the forefront. They become stars – rightly so.


Rent or buy the movie on our Vimeo channel.
Language: German, Subtitles: English

Press reviews

Voices from the street are given ample space to be heard in Maria Speth’s "9 Lives" ("9 Leben"), a bold and formally audacious treatment of ever-topical themes of homelessless, family dysfunction and troubled youth. The title is a reference to the lucky escapes proverbially enjoyed by cats. (

Awards and Festivals

- Internationales Leipziger Festival für Dokumentar - und Animationsfilm (DOK Leipzig) - Förderpreis der DEFA-Stiftung 2010
- Internationales Human Rights Filmfestival Nürnberg - Preis der Open-Eyes-Jugendjury 2011
- Viennale – Vienna International Filmfestival
- Kinofest Lünen
- Göteborg International Film Festival
- Festival International de Films de Femmes de Créteil
- Bradford International Film Festival
- Buenos Aires International Film Festival
- achtung berlin - new berlin film award
- Internationales Frauenfilmfestival Dortmund | Köln
- IndieLisboa - Lisbon International Independent Film Festival
- Internationales Dokumentarfilmfestival München
- Festival des deutschen Films in Buenos Aires
- Internationales Human Rights Filmfestival Nürnberg
- Internationales Film Festival Bratislava


Director, Screenplay, Editor
Maria Speth
Za, Sunny, Krümel, Toni & Band „Les Petits Hotz“, Soja, JJ, Stöpsel & Familie
Director of Photography
Reinhold Vorschneider
Production Design
Anina Diener
Original Sound
Ulla Kösterke
Sound Design
Immo Trümpelmann
Sound Mix
Matthias Schwab
Assistant Director, Research
Lisa Hauss
Commissioning Editor
Claudia Tronnier (ZDF)
Co-Producer, Line Producer, Production Manager
Brigit Mulders
Maria Speth
Produced by
Madonnen Film
In Coproduction with
ZDF „Das kleine Fernsehspiel“
Founded by
Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien sowie des Medienboards Berlin-Brandenburg
World Premiere
October 2010, DOK Leipzig
German Theatrical Release


Country Code
105 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
DD 5.1 + DD 2.0
Release Date
From 12 Years