When the Right One Comes Along


Paula Hartnagel works as a cleaning woman, leading an ordinary life. She loves life but, being a dreamer, she lives in a world of her own.

When Paula believes to have found the man of her dreams in Mustafa, a Turkish security guard, her quite ordinary life suddenly starts to change. Paula mistakes politeness for love, however, and when Mustafa doesn’t show up at work one day she starts to look for him, stumbling into the greatest adventure of her life.

Driven by the faith in a miracle, she follows Mustafa to the large Turkish city Adana, although she has neither address nor 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 of our collaborative work was the idea to shoot a feature film in the same way as a documentary.

There were neither prefabricated story lines nor a screenplay - everything was improvised. The actors were given no information about the tasks and intentions of their scene partners and first met while in character on set.

The story was developed “on the spot” and was based around the main characters. No scene was shot more than once so that planning ahead was not possible for either the camera-person or actors. Except for the leads, all actors were cast on location. Many actors just play themselves, e.g. at work.

It was coincidence which, in a complex manner, repeatedly dictated the direction our work was to take and which made the unpredictable possible. It was as if a secret was hidden in the improvisation, and each person involved was constantly called upon to tackle this secret head-on.”

“... equals the coolness and poetic magic of early Jarmush 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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