Berlin is one of the great cities of the world: It’s ethnically diverse and culturally electrified. And it’s showcased to great effect in Wolfgang Becker’s Life Is All You Get, whose Gen-X-ers aren’t aimless so much as uncertain. The film earned an honorable mention at the 1997 Berlinale film festival, and it feels like a German Reality Bites. At its center is Jan, a slaughterhouse worker who gets into a brawl while returning home from a one-night stand. He trades punches with two plainclothes cops in hot pursuit of Vera, a street musician with whom Jan is instantly smitten, and vice versa. The movie, shot only six years after German reunification, examines some of the period’s tensions, as well as the more universal themes—identity, fear, love—we expect of any film that claims to speak for a generation.
THE FILM SCREENS AT 6:30 P.M. AT GOETHE-INSTITUT, 812 7TH ST. NW. $6. (202) 289-1200.