It'll Be OK

(Alles wird gut)

GDR/Germany, 1987/1990, 78 min, color/b&w
In German; English subtitles
Production Company


Director Bernd Sahling documents almost four years in the life of a young man who experienced two political systems, East and West Germany, and cannot fulfill his dreams in either of them.


Michael has had a difficult childhood and decides to become a punk at the age of 13. He wants to be independent of his mother and find his own way in life. But he feels that he is good for nothing and has no place in East German society. Being aggressive and provocative and playing punk music is his only way of coping with his situation. He refuses all norms and breaks the law, ending up in detention centers and even prison.


He has his own child as a teenager. But will he be any different from his own father? Although his girlfriend decides to stay in East Germany, Michael files an application to leave for West Berlin. His mother, with whom he continues to argue a lot, moves to Munich in West Germany. Less than a year after Michael and his mother move, though, the Berlin Wall comes down. The film crew meets with Michael and his mother again, and they discuss their experiences in West Germany. 


The HD version of this film was made possible by SCHWANDER-SOUNDDESIGN, FXtogo, STUDIO MITTE and Filmuniversität Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF.



In 1988, when director Bernd Sahling was still a film student at the Hochschule für Film und Fernsehen in Potsdam-Babelsberg, he released his documentary Living My Way (Weil ich so leben will) tracing Michael’s life in East Germany from November 1987 to March 1988. It was the first film featuring the officially denied punk scene in East Germany.  It’ll Be OK includes not only the 1988 film, but also new footage shot after the fall of the Berlin Wall and until March 1990.


What makes Bernd Sahling’s account so compelling is the fact that he captures Michael’s day-to-day in East Germany and West Germany, both before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. We are able to witness the shifts in his perspective and the changing social and cultural environment of the two Germanys. Bernd Sahling’s documentary focuses on the East German punk scene, which flourished in the GDR since the early 1980s. Deemed “enemies of the state,” East German punks were heavily persecuted for being different and rebelling against the socialist idea of a fulfilling life path. Some of the few safe spaces where punk shows and gatherings could be held were churches, basements and backyards, and the adherents of the movement had to keep inventing new ways to stay under the radar.




1990 Mannheim International Film Festival, Germany


Press comments

“This thoughtfully made film describes how a punk musician’s outlook on life threaten to shatter in the face of reality. In the process, different perspectives on family, discipline, responsibility and freedom clash. —



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