Thursday, 6 December 2012

Summary - Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt)

Summary - Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt):

Original Title: Lola rrent (German).
First Release: 22 October 1999 (UK).
Material Designation:
Director: Tom TYKWER.
Production Details: Germany, X-Filme Creative Pool.

Themes: Cause and effect, Timelines, Free-will vs determinism.

Summary of Film:

"When we meet Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu), a small time courier for big time gangster, he is working a standard pick-up/drop-off, and everything is going just fine. When the job is done, all he has to do is wait for his girlfriend, the orange-haired punk girl Lola (Franka Potente), to pick him up. But today is unlike any other day. Due to an incident while she was buying a pack of cigarettes, Lola is late, and Lola is never late. One stroke of bad luck leads to another, and by the time Manni calls Lola, he is at a pay phone with a big, big, big problem. His unforgiving boss will meet him in twenty minutes to pick up 100,000 marks; money that Manni, suddenly, does not have.

Lola rushes out of her apartment and down the street, attempting to get to Manni and, somehow, pick up 100,000 marks on the way. She tears through the city, in a whirl of bums, nuns, babies and guns. Down sidewalks, into offices, through traffic and back again. As her feet slap the pavement and the seconds tick down, the tiniest choices become life altering (or ending) decisions, and the fine line between fate and fortune begins to blur."[1]

Key Points:

  • "The ball is round. The game lasts 90 minutes. That's a fact. Everything else is pure theory." - Norbert van Au.

  • There are actually three separate plots in the film that are a result of just one basic event. 

  • Minor characters, through still photos, show their multiple futures. 

My Response:

I personally enjoyed the film. Tykwer has created a 81 minutes of pure insanity which even in its opening stages induces a bombardment to the senses as images rapidly flash on the screen to a racy techno-pop soundtrack.

It is split into three 'runs', each illustrating a unique sequence of events. Each run starts from identical yet basic events (Lola must collect 100,000 marks in the space of 20 minutes for her boyfriend of one year). The film presents no zany social commentaries of crime, trafficking or illegal substances; there is no universal theme. It instead opts to present a premise of a stream of changing outcomes and possible realities. This directly links to the postmodernist theory as it stipulates that reality is subjective, lacks a universal truth and is ambivalent.

The structure of the film is not grounded to reality as the characters seemingly demand a "" that instigates a completely new timeline of events with only minor initial differences, but ultimately has drastic changes; a nod to the buttery effect. These temporal transitions and re-tellings appear to touch on the argument between free-will and pre-destination. Are we really in control of our lives? Us being able to alter chance with our own free will is demonstrated in the final scenes, Lola - with a high-pitched shriek - impossibly manipulates the ball in a roulette game to land on her number.

Yet this theme is enforced in the beginning monologue, where an unseen narrator purports:

"A mystery of unanswered questions. Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? How do we know what we think we know? Why do we believe anything at all? Countless questions in search of an answer... an answer that will give rise to a new question... and the next answer will give rise to the next question and so on.But, in the end, isn't it always the same question? And always the same answer? The ball is round. The game lasts 90 minutes. Everything else is just pure theory. That's a fact."
In effect, this sentiment quickly undergrids the theme. Lola's life is game, the goal is the money and if she dies, she can simply restart. If we all had the opportunity to have a do-over, what would we do differently? Via brief flash-forward sequences of still image, characters that Lola runs into reveal their futures. Each time it is different, a middle aged woman's entire future is changed just because of the way that Lola bumps into her. In the three separate realities  the woman is shown to at first remain poor and kidnaps an unattended baby after her child was taken away by social workers, yet in another she wins the lottery and becomes rich. In the third scenario, the woman experiences a religious conversion. Hence these little acts can alter and distort our lives drastically.

So, having watched under Mr Williamson's advise, I've found that our lives really do conform to a post-modernist belief. What is real is deliberated as there are an infinite amount of timelines, where one can just be if we walked left or right foot-first. How Lola was told how to use a gun in the first reality  then in all later naturally knows how to, hints towards that our decisions are supernatural. An unconscious awareness of all our possible realities. I will definitely now focus on the lives of people for my EPQ and its relationship with the media/hyperreality.

[1] (Accessed 01/12/12).

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