Run Lola Run [Lola rennt] (Tom Tykwer, 1999) Screenplay: Tom Tykwer Cinematographer: Frank Briebe Editing: Mathilde Bonnefoy Animation Sequence: Gil Alkabetz Music: Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, and Reinhold Heil Lola: Franke Potente Manni: Moritz Biebtreu Papa: Herbert Knaup Jutta Hansen (mistress): Nina Petri Schuster (security guard): Armin Rohde Ronnie (Manni?s boss): Heino Ferch Narrator: Hans Paetsch Norbert von Au (bum): Joachim Krol Herr Meier (car accident): Ludgert Pist Mike (bicyclist): Sebastian Schipper Kruse (bank teller): Lars Rudolf Mother: Uta Lubosch Blind Woman: Monica Bleibtreu Frau Jager (in hallway at bank): Suzanne von Borsody ?Every second of every day you make a choice that can change your life.? --Run Lola Run? ?We shall not cease from exploration, And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we all started And know the place for the first time.? ?T.S. Eliot in ?Little Gidding?-- ?After the game is before the game.? ?Sepp Herberger? ?The ball is round, the game lasts 90 minutes. That much is clear. Everything else is theory. Go!? ?Schuster in opening credits to Run Lola Run? ?Man, probably the most enigmatic species on our planet. A mystery of open questions. Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? How do we know what we believe we know? Why do we believe anything? Innumerable questions searching for an answer, an answer that will generate a new question, and the next answer the next question, and so on and so on. But in the end, isn?t it always the same question, and always the same answer?? ?Narrator in the opening of Run Lola Run? ?Tom Tykwer?s Run Lola Run blasts open doors for viewers in the late 90s the way Godard?s Breathless (1959) did for viewers in the late 50s. In few other ways would I compare these two films. Godard?s exercise is tinted cool, hip, his characters posturing cartoons; whereas Tykwer?s is hot, kinetic, and his (at times animated) characters bristling realities.? ?Tom Whalen? ?Run Lola Run was the must-see ?action? film of last year. Not comparable in the least to a Godzilla (1997) or a Wild Wild West (1999) or an Armageddon (1998) film, this small, independent German film blasts onto the screen and re-defines the boundaries of space, time, and movement.? ?G.E. Georges? ?Run Lola Run is a furiously kinetic display of pyrotechnics from the director Tom Tykwer, who fuses lightning-fast visual tricks, tirelessly shifting styles and the arbitrary possibilities of interactive storytelling into the best-case scenario for a cinematic video game.? ?Janet Maslin? ?Run Lola Run os one of those movies with the kind of advance buzz that it?s impossible to ignore. A huge hit both at the 1998 Toronto Film Festival (where it made its North American debut) and at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival, the feature has already won over a legion of film critics. Run Lola Run is a must-see for anyone who enjoys a fast-paced, innovative motion picture that refuses to be defined by norms of the genre. As far as I?m concerned, it?s the most fun I have had at any movie thus far in 1999. Directed by Tom Tykwer, this German import is a kinetic meditation on fate and destiny.? ?James Berardinelli? ?Run Lola Run is the kind of movie that could play on the big screen in a sports bar. It?s an exercise in kinetic energy, a film of nonstop motion and visual invention. A New York critic called it ?post-human,? and indeed its heroine is like the avatar in a video game?Lara Croft made flesh.? ?Roger Ebert? ?Lola loves Manni. That much is clear. Lola minus Manni makes no sense. Lola plus Manni is what matters. ??I?m part of you, dear? are the lyrics we hear at the end of Round One; ?My lonely nights are through, dear, since you said you were mine.?. . . These two young people belong together, and Lola is ready to stretch and twist and transform the boundaries of logic to reunite with Manni.??Tom Whalen? ?Chaos theory in particular seems to be Tykwer?s concern here, for the course of each of Lola?s attempts to save her boyfriend Manni is determined by incidental micro-events?whether she is tripped on the stairs, if she causes a man to crash his car, and so on. But there is little of the romantic comedy irony of Groundhog Day?s repetitions or Sliding Door?s mirrored stories in the crisis that turns into three dramas for Lola. Nor is there an unwavering commitment to the existential crime plot take on fate and chance that runs from Kubrick?s The Killing (1956) to Tarantino. So many things have gone wrong by the time Lola receives her phone call?the theft of her moped, a taxi driver taking her to the wrong address in the east?that chaos seems the norm rather than a flaw in a masterplan.? ?Richard Falcon? ?Perhaps it?s for the best that, while she stands in her room talking to Manni on the phone, Lola doesn?t notice the tortoise walking past her left foot and thus misses the comic reference to Zeno?s second paradox, which, as quoted ?more or less in Zeno?s words? in A Newcomer?s Guide to the Afterlife, reads: Achilles must first reach the place from which the tortoise started. By that time the tortoise will have got on a little way. Achilles must then traverse that, and still the tortoise will be ahead. Achilles is always coming nearer, but he never makes up to it. (98)? ?Tom Whalen? ?A film about the possibilities of life, it was clear, needed to be a film about the possibilities of cinema as well. That?s why there are different formats in Run Lola Run; there is color and black and white, slow motion and speeded-up motion, all elementary building blocks that have been used for ages in film history. Georges Melies was already able to work with these effects, especially with double exposure and tricks. . . . Animation suggests: anything can happen at any given moment, and that gives the film additional power.? ?Tom Tykwer? ?Run Lola Run presents a life-threatening situation with three endings. This may delight, intrigue, annoy or just frustrate us as we try to make sense of it all. . . . Tykwer then offers three alternate possibilities as to how Lola tries to resolve the crisis. In each scenario, she encounters the same people along the way. Because her timing varies, however, their futures, and hers, differ dramatically. It?s not just what a difference a day makes, but what a difference mere seconds make to everyone?s life.? ?Barrie Wilson? ?Games, like films, are usually time-bound, and Lola is a most time-bound character: she has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks in order to save the life of her boyfriend Manni. Games also can be played again; if you lose one game, you can always try again. . . . Games exist, as much as possible, in a zone of safety. Like Wile E. Coyote, a game character can?t (or shouldn?t) be harmed. . . . The player should be able to affect the outcome of the game. Lola is determined, beyond all logic (so determined that she rises above the logically possible), to win the game. But can a player affect the outcome of chance such as roulette?? ?Tom Whalen? ?Instead of showing us one of Lola?s approaches, however, Tykwer gives us three to choose from, throwing us into the Sliding Doors/Blind Chance alley of alternate realities. You can essentially pick your own ending, each of which offers a share of irreverent surprises. Sandwiched in between the alternative storylines are soft-focus scenes of Lola and Manni reflecting on life and love. These sequences serve a dual purpose: to allow us to catch our breath and to deepen our sympathy for these two intensely likable characters.? ?James Berardinelli? ?As Lola takes off, trucking along with a muscular R. Crumb look and distinctive flaming- cranberry hair that sets her off from any crowd, the fun is in the details. There are marking points along her route that will be important later. A visit to her father?s office, and encounter between an ambulance and a sheet of glass, assorted encounters of the street: all of these will be refracted later in various ways. Meanwhile everything looks as dazzling as possible, like the way the camera watches Lola run past her idle mother, spins around the mother and then zooms in on the television screen where Lola is now running as a cartoon version of herself.? ?Janet Maslin? ?Film is ideal for showing alternative and parallel time lines. It?s literal; we see Lola running, and so, we accept her reality, even though the streets she runs through and the people she meets are altered in each story. The message is that the smallest events can have enormous consequences. A butterfly flaps its wings in Malaysia, causing a hurricane in Trinidad.? ?Roger Ebert? ?Perhaps the film is a dream sequence, The clue to this line of interpretation is twofold. The first has to do with the intimate scenes between the first and second scenarios. These are the segments filmed with a red hue where Lola and Manni are sharing confidences, about the nature of love and about death. . . . The second clue that this may be a dream has to do with the music. The lyrics express wishing. . .. These images all have to do with exercising power over situations. They disclose Lola?s desire for mastery over some troubling problem.? ?Barrie Wilson? ?[A]lthough Lola dresses like a post-apocalyptic road warrior and subscribes to a decidedly unconventional life, she is a tried and true heroine in the vein of Mary Pickford: she will do anything, anything to help her man. In her green pants and blue top Lola is an unlikely crusader, but she takes to the streets of Berlin with a mission as strong as any film hero before her.? ?G.E. Georges? ?To this extent, Run Lola Run is a coming-of-age story, albeit a fast-track one, wherein Lola moves from dependence on her parents to independence, from ignorance (powerlessness) to knowledge (power) of her player status in the game universe.? ?Tom Whalen? ?Another way of looking at the film is that life is like a game we play over and over again. Some years ago, the Canadian-born psychologist Eric Berne introduced us to the notion of ?games,? ?scripts,? and ?transactional analysis? as a framework for understanding interpersonal relationships. In Games People Play and other books, he developed one hundred ways in which we interact with other people, depending on which part of the ego we are activating?whether the parent, the Child or the Adult. He assigned these games memorable names??See What You Made Me Do,? ?Yes But,? ?I?m Only Trying to Help You? and ?If It Weren?t For You, I?d . . .? Berne suggested that some of us unconsciously adopt a pattern of behaviour and repeat it in our dealings with other people, living it again and again, a pattern of action that meets our psychological needs. The clue to this line of interpretation is that there are parallels between the film and games or scripts. There are game references throughout. . . . Games, moreover, can be played again and agin. We may have been beaten in one game of tennis and so we challenge our opponent to another match. Lola starts the game over when the previous one results in an outcome she wants to change.? ?Barrie Wilson? ?An action film with heart, soul, and the existential questions of love served up for good measure, Run Lola Run is a rousing good time.? --G.E. Georges? ?Saturated with irony, the film moves at blazing speed to the accompaniment of a relentless techno soundtrack; blink and you?ll probably miss a thrown-in visual gag. Using an innovative mix of animation, still photography, slow motion, and normal cinematography, Tykwer illustrates how the smallest change in what a person does can alter the rest of their life (not to mention the loves of others, including complete strangers they pass on the street). Harlan Jackson, a critic friend of mine, called this a ?90 minute MTV video,? but, while that statement captures the film?s great spirit, it greatly shortchanges Run Lola Run, which has as much depth as it has energy and action.? _James Berardinelli- ?For what is Run Lola Run if not a fairy tale, albeit of the self-conscious, philosophical variety. The film itself is clearly aware of its fairy tale status. Its tripartite structure is the same structural (and magical) three that underlies so many traditional fairy tales. In her ?Wish? song, Lola sings ?I wish I were a Princess/I wish I were a ruler/Who?d make them understand.? Lola is our princess and Manni our prince, though the genders, as is appropriate for the late 1990s 9in the sense that the princess must save the prince), are reversed.? ?Tom Whalen? 1. Describe the character constellation of the film. What do we know about Manni and Lola? What are their traits? What is their relationship like? What are the characteristics and functions of the other characters, like Lola?s father, Lola?s mother, Jutta Hansen, Schuster, the bicyclist, Herr Meyer, Frau Jager, Kruse, the woman with the baby carriage, the blind woman, and the bum who finds the money? 2. What sets up the goal and deadline for the narrative? What does Manni need and why does he need it? How does the filmmaker set up the importance of this deadline in the opening credits sequence? 3. What are the main differences in the three difference variations of the narrative? What is similar in each sequence? What are the important differences in each variation of the narrative? How does the animation at the start of each segment differ each time? How are the endings different in each variation? What accounts for these different endings? 4. Tykwer said that it was difficult for the audience to get to know Lola and Manni because of the pace of the film, so that is one of the reasons fro the two ?interludes.? How are these two scenes similar? How are they different from one another? What do they reveal about Lola and Manni? 5. An unusual device Tykwer employs in each variation of the narrative are the occasional rapid flashforwards of the lives of some characters who Lola passes by while running. What are the outcomes of these rapid successions of still photos? How do they differ from narrative version to narrative version? 6. What elements of the mise-en-scene are most significant in the film? How so? 7. How does Tykwer use the other elements of cinematic style (cinematography, editing, and sound) in the film to help depict the characters? To help convey central themes? To help evoke emotions? To help convey central conflicts? What is the effect of the various film stocks that Tykwer uses (animation, 35 mm film, color video, black and white images, and still photographs)? 8. How does this film resemble classical Hollywood films? Italian neo-Realist films? French New wave films? A Bergman film? How does it compare to each of the feature films we have seen thus far this semester? 9. What are some of the cultural values that seem to be represented by the various characters and their traits, desires, beliefs, attitudes, and conflicts? How so? Ultimately what does the narrative and the film seem to say about each of these cultural values (are they reinforced/affirmed OR are they resisted/challenged/questioned)? How so? 10. What does the film say about fate/determinism vs. individual agency? How so? 11. Which of the various interpretations of the film proposed in three of the quotatons by Barrie Wilson included on the study guide do you agree with? How so? Which do you disagree with? How so? þÿ
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