When the Right One Comes Along


Paula Hartnagel is a cleaning lady and has a completely ordinary life. She loves her life, but exists in her own little world.

Paula thinks she’s found the man of her dreams in Mustafa, the Turkish security guard. There is finally some momentum in her life. But Paula confuses politeness with love.
When Mustafa doesn’t come to work one day, she starts to look for him and embarks on the greatest adventure of her life.

Driven by a belief in miracles, she follows Mustafa to the Turkish city of Adana, although she has neither an address nor a phone number.

77 min - 2003

︎  Watch the trailer here

“A film that proves German comedy can be funny.”


“The film is superbly served by Isolde Fischer’s straightforward, sincere and unaffected performance as Paula, a woman who can walk into the jets of a city fountain with the natural enthusiasm of someone who is truly carried away on the wings of her dreams.”

Screen International

Director’s note

“The starting point for our idea and our cooperation was to make a feature film like a documentary.

There wasn’t a script or a finished storyline – everything was improvised. The actors never knew anything about each other’s actions or intentions, and they didn’t meet before they started in their roles on set.

The story developed spontaneously and was guided throughout by the main characters. No single scene was repeated, predictability was eliminated for the camera and the actors. Everyone except the main characters was cast ‘on the street’. Many play themselves, for example at their ‘real’ workplace.

Coincidences repeatedly pushed our work in different directions and brought unexpected occurrences to light. The improvisation conceals a secret and all involved were repeatedly asked to face up to this secret.”

“... equals the coolness and poetic magic of early Jarmusch films.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung



Special Mention
- 51st IFF San Sebastián, 2003
Best First Feature Award - Berlin & Beyond, San Francisco. 2004
Best Actress (Isolde Fischer) - IFF Khanti-Mansiisk, Siberia, 2004
Best Actress (Isolde Fischer) - Schermi d’Amore IFF Verona, 2004
Best Directors
- 13th IFF Irkutsk, 2004
Best Actress (Isolde Fischer) - 13th IFF Irkutsk, 2004
Special Mention - Transilvania IFF, 2004
Best First Film - 20th Festroia, IFF Setúbal, 2004
Audience Award - Arthouse Theatres Saarbrücken, 2004
Special Jury Award of the International Film Press - 11th IFF Minsk, Belarus, 2004
Best Actress (Isolde Fischer) - Alba Regio IFF, Hungary, 2005
Audience Award - 9th Dhaka IFF, Bangladesh. 2006

Cast & Crew


with: Isolde Fischer, Helga Grimme, Can Sengül, Tülay Gönen, Arcan Arican

Stefan Hillebrand, Oliver Paulus - screenplay
Stefan Hillebrand, Oliver Paulus - directors 
Mathias Schick, Stefan Hillebrand, Oliver Paulus - producers
Mathias Schick - director of photography
Amndré Bigoudi - editor
Ramón Orza - sound design
Sascha Heiny - sound mix
Erdal Tosun - music

a Motorfilm - Frischfilm - Schicke Bilder Production

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