Run Lola Run

A perfect rendering of the techno age, Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt) packs up a hybrid of stylized 'screens'. The film screen becomes a wild concoction of animation, video game and music video styles where kinetic movement and high-technology aesthetics take precedence over logical continuity.

Lola is a caricature of hyperactivity much like all-too familiar cartoon characters. Familiarity with imagery is a key term here, for repetition in cartoon shows is a tactic of engaging children's interest for visuals than logic. Much like any known cartoon character, Lola is clad in the same outfit throughout the film. By making her a bizarre standout from a city of stereotypical, ordinary conformists, the film creates a visual 'icon'— a trademark of outrageous red hair and 90's not-a-care-for-rules fashion. The rapid succession of heavily stylized images is also very typical of music video montage— technical and almost like a factory of incongruent images. But the visual exuberance is not for fronting profundity, but charging excitement and adrenaline rush in the viewer.

Interactivity and hyperreality in the video game experience are also infused in Run Lola Run. The caricatured characters have out-of-this-world options to gain self-advantage and cheat death. Incidentally many video games are aimed at protection against death; characters also have many 'lives'. On a similar note, there have been recent efforts at fully capturing this kind of customization in film. See this article about interactive film in Australia.

Similar cartoon and music video aesthetics

Bjork's "Hyperballad" directed by Michel Gondry.
A more literal translation of video game aesthetics.
Incidentally there's a part where the video arcade Bjork runs too.


The trademark Lola look is recreated through a cartoon mural.


A rather idle and funny observation:Lola's look is a bit similar to the play of colors in Ariel's iconic look.

"Man as machine" (a term used in Bertolucci's The Dreamers to characterize Buster Keaton) is also at play here. Lola and even one of Keaton's characters Sherlock Jr take charge of their 'goals' through imaginative recreation. Life is causal, as if determined by the tinkering of bolts, by corporeal, physical manuevers. Film becomes the medium for expressing this physical and material existence. But even with the choreographing of physical moves, the 'spirit' emerges and becomes an artifice of more than just mechanized functioning—creating hyperbolic dreams of pivoting destiny very well outside the realm of reality. There is also strong urgency in achieving goals. In "Sherlock Jr", the shortcut route is the cinematic screen, where a projectionist launches himself as an instant detective who will literally 'go places'. Lola and her Papa's mistress press for right-at-this-moment solutions to weighty issues like needing 100,000 and pursuing pregnancy.


Going out of reality in "Sherlock Jr".


Correcting fate: alternate ending in Run Lola Run.

This last issue (instant gratification of so-called needs) can be tied with Run Lola Run's pop culture references. The techno age is marked by a crisis in patience; pressing matters are decided on the dot. Successes and failures become products of a rapid chain of events. A life 'performed' like clockwork: Lola tries to save a life in twenty minutes; her father breaks up with the family in a matter of seconds; the mother acts like a teenager—flirting on the phone while the television is on; the bum gets an upgrade by just picking up a plastic bag of cash.

Run Lola Run presupposes a time-controlled "species" with homogenized fears and hopes, that it is "always the same question and always the same answer" that haunts us. "Innumerable questions" are hypothetical, fate-ridden and anxious of the future. In this film, the ultimate future is death. The question "Where are we going?" takes centerstage when Lola and Manni fall prey to time and circumstance. But the film escapes its own sublime questions by making the hunt for "answers" superficial, almost literal. This is done by orchestrating mundane events for that stamp of literal connectedness, and exaggeratedly theorizing the future.

By Student 063940


Admittedly, when Sir asked the class if they have seen Lola Rennt, I raised my hand feebly because I only watched 2/3's of this film, which meant that of the three story arcs, the three "RUNS" of Lola, I only got to watch two of them previously. This was because my pirated copy of Lola Rennt had Polish-Turkish-Hungarian as the Main Menu languages, and to my dismay, even after figuring out how to go to Chapter Selections, the 3rd arc, the final Lola Run always hanged when I tried to play it.

But, even if you did not watch the 3rd arc, I would say that Lola Rennt, being a relative of the Video Game age, where people using video game console controllers or PC keyboards and mouses as their instruments of play, the final arc can actually be seen as just one of the infinite possibilities of ONE event triggering another and so forth. Why do I bring up this infinite horizon of possibility?

Being dubbed in our syllabus as Cinema and Other Screens, where Film and Television are the first two, followed by the computer age of computer screens and video game HUD's, there is still a humanistic treatment of Lola Rennt that pervades its video game like structure of choice as "option", and action as "controller configuration". I am comparing and making parallelism of what we see in the film and what we see while playing a video game.

Lola Rennt (the film):
So, Lola decides to ACT on Manni's current predicament and the film shows a continuous "run" through Berlin, where Lola meets different characters along the way that are focused on and shown camera still pictures of what their lives would become after their brief encounter with Lola. Three possible runs are shown in the film, prompting a Hegelian circle of knowledge: the thesis (run 1), anti-thesis (run 2) and synthesis (run 3). In Run 1, Lola dies after failing to catch up with Manni who decides to rob a store and are cornered by the Polizei, one of them trigger happily shooting Lola. Lola and Manni are on their bed post-sex, talking about love, and whether their relationship is genuine or fleeting. Lola ends up negating her death because of the promise of love. Run 2 shows Lola running again, this time succeeding to prevent Manni from taking matters in his own hands, with Manni dying after an ambulance totals him to the ground. Manni and Lola talk about death, and then subsequently, Manni convinces himself that he is not yet dead, because of the proimise of life. So, Run 1 features Lola's death and realizations. Run 2 features Manni's death and realizations. Both of these runs are structured in such a way that an outcome: the two deaths of the characters should pave the way for a different third and final act: LIFE. Why life?

In the beginning of the film, a narrator talks about philosophical questions and the endless cycle of repetition these philosophical inquiries result in. Throughout the film, the three acts serve as these cyclical philosophical questions and their outcomes serve as the pure result of choice, fate and destiny, three themes which are never clear and the film tries to show this relationship. "In the end, isn't it always the same questions, and the same answers?"

"After the game is before the game" and "The ball is round, the game lasts 90 minutes and eveyrthing else is pure theory" are quotes related to football (soccer). These two quotes hover above the film as guiding principles as to how film has captured the seemingly "unexplainable" actions, choices and fates people go through. It presents three possibilities in one film.

This is how Lola Rennt turns into a video game parallel. Because football has been used as its game parallel, then to compare it with a football game would be apt.

A football game:
90 minutes
105x68 meter area
11 players, two teams
2 goals on either side
1 ball
THREE POSSIBLE RESULTS: A win, a draw, a loss.
-These are the rules of football and if we apply it to the film Lola Rennt, then the "game lasts 90 minutes" part does reflect itself in the three-part arc of the film: the film lasts for roughly 76 minutes.
- "the ball is round" in football slang means that anyone can win the game (because of the three possibilities) and this is again shown in the three part fate-game of Lola Rennt.
-"Everything else is pure theory" is a part of the quote that reinforces the fact the football as a game, has a beginning and end, but in between those 90 minutes, ANYTHING can happen.

"After the game is before the game" means that after playing one game, it only serves as the prelude to the next game, and so forth. This is the structure of football games and leagues. But isn't it also a parallelism in the film that even after their deaths which can be compared to the "end of the game (end of 90 minutes)", they "start" a new one, a new run that would also end and start a newer one etc.?

All football rules above are applied, but there is an added dimension: the human who plays the game with the controller.
Does the quote's meaning change even if the football game (a real game) is simulated (to a video game)? The ball is still round, the game lasts for a simulated 90 minutes (of course, in the video game world, this is 20-minutes only!), and everything else is still pure theory because even if there is a controller, he can still win, lose or draw, much like Lola was doing in the film: is she the controlled player, going through the motions of the game? Or is she the controller, able to take her future into her own hands? Or is she both controlled and controller?

This issue of control affecting outcomes does make the film reflexive because it shows how film, through its form and content parallel itself to video games which are simulations of life on screen (the 3rd screen), and finally, to life, where it seems that questions and answers are cyclical, and that everything between our birth and our death may just be pure theory.

Combine these elements with a techno-beat and the backdrop of modern Berlin, we have a film that speaks volumes of our generation, today: video game obsession, electronic music as the future, and film as an entertainment medium that evolves with all these generational innovations.

-Submitted by 062867

by Student 070723

The film presents us three different scenarios that could result from Lola and Manni's predicament:
1. Manni robs the supermarket to get 100,000 marks, and Lola is shot accidentally.
2. Lola robs a bank to get 100,000 marks, and Manni is accidentally run over.
3. Both Lola and Manni get 100,000 marks each by 'legitimate' ways, and they both live.

The question is: Did these three scenarios happen in different dimensions of reality, or did they happen sequentially?

Many running Lolas.

The concept of time travel is interesting. So far, human technology has not yet been successful to make this a reality, but such is very popular in fiction. There are different versions of time travel, though. Most make of reality as a single thread, so when you travel back in time, there's a possibility that you might change things and come back to a very different future. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, for instance, when Harry and Hermione went back in time, they were directly affecting the reality they were in. They experienced the consequences of their meddling.

There is one anime I know, though, that features time travel involving many dimensions of reality existing at the same time, so that if you go back in time and change things, the future of that particular 'world' changes, but your own future, the one you're going back to, stays the same. In Dragonball Z, Trunks goes back two decades into the past to give Son Goku medicine to a heart disease that would otherwise have killed him. In Trunks' own timeline, the medicine was not yet developed at that time, and Goku died, leaving Earth to the hands of the evil monster Cell. Trunks went back to save the world in another timeline; but there was no remedy for his own. He had saved that particular dimension of reality, but when he went back to his own, it was the same as he had left it.

This particular kind of time travel intrigues me, because it explores the possibility of 'branches' in the future. Is it possible that in each moment we make a key decision, reality branches off into different situations? If that were so, I may be dead in another dimension of reality as I type this. Or I may not have even been born in one 'branch' where my mom gets with another man.

Watching Run Lola Run reminded me of this time travel concept. It seems that at the moment Lola ran out of her room, reality branched out into three different futures, and I like how it wasn't just Lola and Manni's lives that were affected by the split-second differences of timing. The futures of the people Lola passed on her way to Manni also changed with each alternate future. Interconnectivity of everything on Earth is another phenomenon I'm really interested in.

When Lola died and the whole sequence started again, I thought, "Hey, great, it's showing the other dimension of reality." But something in that second version gave rise to another idea. In the first story arc, Lola blatantly exhibited lack of knowledge in handling a gun. She even asked Manni how to turn off the safety. But in the second arc, Lola snatched a gun from the security guard and, upon being warned that she did not know how to use the thing, she turns off the safety as if she had done it before. If Lola's reality split at that moment when she ran out of the room, then Lola 2 should not have known something Lola 1 did not know prior to where the futures of the two branched off. The gun knowledge would only make sense if the first and second story arcs happened sequentially.

This was further strengthened by what I found on the German The patient inside the ambulance in the third story arc was actually the security guard at the bank, from whom Lola snatched the gun in the previous story arc. In the second arc, this guard clutched his chest and seemed to have been on the brink of a heart attack. In the third arc, he was inside an ambulance being subjected to electric shocks to keep his heart beating. It was as if the second and third arcs happened sequentially and Lola was in two places at the same time.

Of course, there couldn't have been two Lolas at the same time, or the people would have noticed, since she passed the same people at the same time. This leads me to think of another kind of time travel, which doesn't involve the physical realm. It's like the consciousness of the characters in one story arc travelled back in time so that they existed in the bodies of the people in the next arc.

Or, to make things simpler, maybe the film really was just designed to operate like an adventure video game. For instance, when I control Lara Croft in her tomb raiding, and she dies after falling into a pit of spikes or some similar demise, I replay from the last save point already equipped with the knowledge that I would be encountering a fatal spot at a particular point. This advantage of familiarity helps me do better in controlling Lara's alternate future.

Run Lola Run is a wonderful film, and my second favorite among those shown in this class. Whether or not the exploration of the different dimensions of reality was intended, I found the movie exciting and smart.

Some links:


Manni and Lola Under Time Pressure

I can compare this movie as one of those whose story is just simple and short but gets longer only because changes in the scenario are made, which kind of like in a domino effect, everything else gets affected thus changes as well.

I have to say I liked this movie because though it was repetitive and a bit dragging at some point because every time the story would reset again, all you wanted to see was the climax and how things would change this time around, it was exciting to know what would happen if a little changed occurred. Maybe if I had to choose which of the three circumstances I would like the most, I guess it would have to be the last one of course because not only was Manni able to pay off the 100,000 marks by getting the money back form the beggar, Lola gained the same amount from the casino so obviously that’s the best happy ending without anyone dying just like the other first two situations that happened.

I liked how the director managed to input so many editing styles and camera tricks all throughout the film like animation, slow and fast motion, flashbacks, black and white etc. It was a visually appealing and it gave life to the film.

The things that I found unusual and quite surreal about the film was one, the times when Lola would scream so loud either out of anger or frustration that glass would shatter and break. It was insane that when she screamed in the casino, I’m assuming out of nervousness and frustration, that the ball from the roulette table bounce to the #20 slot earning her the 100,000 marks that Manni needed. Also it was a bit hard to believe that Lola only had 20minutes to get to Manni but it seemed quite longer because she was able to go to so many stops like the bank where her dad worked. I mean obviously time doesn’t run that slow. Another thing that I found hilarious was when Lola went out of the bank holding the money in a plastic bag and cops were outside surrounding her but instead of her being handcuffed by the cops, they asked her to move away because they thought she was a civilian. This was exceptionally very realist. I mean they didn’t even wonder what was in the plastic bag she was holding, the only thing she had coming out of the bank? That was unbelievably impossible but it was really funny.

I think people would like this film just as how I did because at some point, we would begin to feel for the characters. Every time Lola would pass the corner and bump into the beggar who got Manni’s bag filled with money, everyone would shriek and hope that Lola would realize it or when the clock would strike to 12 o’clock, every one would hope that Manni had heard Lola just like the second time until he entered the grocery to rob it. I mean these are the times when the film becomes powerful to the point that the audience gets to sympathize with the actors and though weird as it may sound, feel as if they are part of the story itself.

Run Lola Run is a very good example of a film that exemplifies excellent camera-work, editing, and originality of story. I had fun watching this film because it made me look at the same plot of the story in so many different ways.

Unfortunately I cannot embed the video I wanted to show because of privacy or copyright restrictions so here's the URL instead of the preview and short introduction of Tom Tykwer's The Simpsons Parody of Run Lola Run! (The interview has no English subtitles but basically what Tykwer's saying is that he was a Simpsons fan and was glad about the parody they made.)

-Here's one of my favorite scenes because of the skillful editing and suspense. This clip also shows Tykwer's touch as a realist.-

Run Lola Run is the movie version of a video game. In a video game, the character we control usually has three lives. When the character we are controlling 'dies' the first time, we can do it over, remembering what we did wrong prior to this current 'life' we are controlling now. In the movie, Lola is the character. Although we may not necessarily control her, she changes her decisions every time she changes her life. The first time, she died by getting shot because the she got to her meeting place with Manni late, so Manni robs the supermarket and this calls the attention of the police, one of which shoots her. The second time, she changes some of her decisions and meets Manni on time, except that when Manni crosses the street (and they cross the street diagonally — what's up with that?), he gets run over by a speeding truck driven by the same character that shoots Lola in the first 'life'. For the third time, she learns from everything she has done wrong in the past so she is victorious. She utilizes her lives well. If she was not able to get it right the third time, it would have been game over for her.

Another theme in the film is that it plays around with Fate. We are given a glimpse of the futures of the people who have intersected Lola's path by a series of snap shots rapidly flashed on the screen in front of us. The whole trouble began because Lola was late for the first time ever in picking up Manni so Manni had to take the train, and this is where he loses the bag of money. Right after Lola gets the call from Manni, she runs for it. She encounters a vicious dog and its owner. For every 'life', the dog and its owner react differently. One time, the dog owner trips her down the stairs; so the next time, she jumps directly to the stairs to avoid the dog and its owner. As Lola 'dies' and changes 'life', the fate of the people she meets changes—the lady carrying the baby carriage, the guy who offers her the bicycle, the man driving the car out of the parking lot, the driver of the van and the movers transporting a big piece of glass. Her father knowing about his girlfriend's baby not being his also changes as Lola changes 'life'. It seems that only Lola is the only character with the somewhat omniscient point of view. She learns from her previous mistakes just like we learn from our previous mistakes in playing a game. The film does not only gives us the feel of a video game, it also teaches us that intersecting paths and the time these take place have serious consequences.

-submitted by 060164

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