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In my 20 years of living, there are numerous amounts of moments I wish I could undo or change. These changes would make my memories so much easier to look back on. By simply changing any moments that were embarrassing, awkward, sad or even infuriating would in part change the course of my life completely. However, even though we are unable to restart a situation doesn’t mean we don’t get second chances. Moreover, our second chances don’t come with a complete redo but, at a similar opportunity. Yet, in Run Lola Run (1999), directed by Tom Tykwer, Lola is somehow able to not only get a second chance but a third chance at her happy ending. Essentially, the main theme surrounding Run Lola Run is time; the lack of time and how much time we can use time. The first few frames of the movie illustrate how time is a monster. The hands on the clock spiral out of control. Continually, Lola’s animated self-runs into the monster clock just inches away from its teeth, running through time. This image makes me think of how time controls us, we don’t control time. We are simply pawns in a game of life and there are people along the way that stand out.
They either keep us away from the lessons we are supposed to learn or push us closer to our goal and who we are supposed to become. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and sometimes a reason based on time. Everything in your life can play out differently based on the choices you make with every second. I believe this is how Run Lola Run is constructed, for many of Lola’s runs, she reaches a destination by a specific time and makes decisions accordingly which changes her course. If you had a chance to go back in time, would you change your fate? What would you do differently? What’s your goal? For example, comparatively, Lola makes slight changes in the decisions she made in the run before the last. These slight changes either give Lola more time or sets her back.In the last run if Lola hadn’t had distracted one of the drivers, the man in the car wouldn’t have crashed into a car full gang members set on a quest to find Manny with the money. Manni wouldn’t have gained more time to get his money back. Coincidentally, if Lola wouldn’t have gotten her bike stolen in the first place, they wouldn’t be in the situation there in at least to that extreme of robbing banks and grocery stores. Lola would have been able to pick up Manni and he wouldn’t have lost his money in the first place. The climactic scene of this clip is the moment Lola makes the decision to grab the guards bank and stick up her father. Obviously, holding up a bank and stealing money can lead to serious consequences like jail but that doesn’t stop Lola.She is in a desperate need to save Manni, even if that means betraying her father.It as if we see a whole new side of Lola, she no longer cares about consequences but saving her loved one.
The top of this scene (38:39) is filmed with a handheld camera by someone with unstable hands. This device is used to convey one or two different themes 1. The sudden shift in camera as an emulate the couple being watched on surveillance by a specific person. 2. To add a more dramatic effect on the interaction between the two like a soap opera. As it seems their conversation came straight out of a soap opera. However, I believe it’s a bit of both. Even after Lola makes it to her father’s office and discovers he’s having an affair does the camera movement still sustain as unstable thus, for the view adds more suspense. The camera seems to simulate heavy breathing then after the father slaps Lola does the camera movement begin to follow the action. Then as Lola is leaving her father’s the security guard says, “you can’t have everything.” Now, Lola has a sudden shift in attitude followed by taking the guard’s gun and going after her father. There is a sense of parallel editing or contrasting settings as we see Lola’s past mistake of her previous run enter her new state of consciousness. The guard says, “you don’t know how to use that thing,” the camera moves to the gun as Lola takes off the safety lock.
Throughout the film, there are also sets of montages or continuity editing patterns in a set of flashing images used to tell a story. In this case, it is the story of the people she passes by; the woman on the sidewalk, the man on the bike and the woman at the office. This stylistic choice is used to show that Lola isn’t the only one after a perfect ending and while she changes her outcomes she also changes others outcomes as well. Simulating the butterfly effect which is a theory that A phenomenon in which a small perturbation in the initial condition of a system results in large changes in later conditions. Lasting, the director contrast POV reactions shots on the Axis and split frame to show the direction of the shot. Which is Lola running to Manni with the money and Manni looking for Lola with the money before he attempts to stick up the market the direction Manni and Lola are facing each other (50:30) contrast to look as though Lola is taking into Manni’s ear, telling him to wait for her. This shot is also shot in slow motion thus, manipulating time and suspense and we watch as the minute hand changes from 11:59 to 12:00. But, as Lola and Manni begin running to each other in slow motion in a bit of relief sadly, Manni gets hit by the ambulance instead. The director cuts to Lola’s reaction, the ball falling and back to Lola’s reaction, tracking the action and suddenly everything’s back in time.
The sound is also a big element in Run Lola Run, sound in general, helps to enhance the emotions of the view parallel to the characters in the film. Run Lola Run almost never goes without sound, in each frame exquisites retro chase music during Lola’s runs or even during her intense walks down the hallway. The background music gives us the sense of intensity and determination. The retro tone further adds to Lola’s personality. Lola is a girl dressed in skater clothes with red hair and is given theme music that contrasts well with her look. The music throughout the film also directs our attention to the context. In a previous scene, as Manni and Lola are running from the cops the song What a Difference a Day Makes, by Dinah Washington plays in the background. “Twenty-four little hours. Brought the sun and the flowers. Where there used to be rain. My yesterday was blue, dear. Today I’m part of you, dear. My lonely nights are through, dear. Since you said you were mine.” The lyrics follow us to our theme of time, whether it is the lack of it or how life changes events can happen in just the matter of seconds. These elements revolve around the theme of time, and decision making, how those moments dictate the outcome of our lives and the lessons we learn from them. During the last run, the song Wish by Thomas D. plays. The lyrics “I wish I was a hunter in search of different food. I wish I was the animal which fits into that mood. I wish I was a person with unlimited breath, I wish I was a heartbeat that never comes to rest.” These lyrics help develop Lola’s determination and adds to the build up to the scene. Also adding to the build up is the sound of a clock or if we listen closer, sounds like a ticking time bomb. All of these elements go back to Lola running out of time and essentially Manni’s life is the bomb that will end unless she makes it to him in time.
Even though the movie is in German and at times can be hard to follow, every aspect included in the film complements the plot development as well as the character developments. For one, color is one important aspect of the film the biggest. Lola’s red hair emulates her passion and determination, but most importantly alarming. I believe her red hair is supposed to cater to the ambulance and that Lola is Manni’s ambulance. Red captures your attention. Red is also used to add to romantic passion. The director includes romantic red room scenes between Lola and Manni as they ask each other questions about their relationship. Another big way color is displayed in Run Lola Run is the bag. In each run, the bag of money changes colors thus, giving us an idea of where the story is going. The colors simulate a stop light going from red, green to yellow. With the last bad being yellow and the final run leaving Lola and Manni with the money they need as well as them both alive, we can understand that Lola got the gold. Additionally, as we see the bag transform we ultimately see Lola transform as she learns something from each run. In the screenplay, the animated scenes play to this quite well as they are a key inside of Lola subconscious and they gives us insight on the obstacles Lola will overcome or enable her. In each run, Lola becomes more determined, she transforms from ignorant to knowledgeable, dependent to independent, powerless to powerful and disordered to ordered. “We shall not cease from exploration, at the end of all our exploring will be to admire where we started and know this place for the first time,” which is said at the beginning of the film. These elements, from composition to screenplay does a good job at explaining a deeper message about learning from our mistakes. Even though we don’t explicitly get a fresh start at things we are to accomplish, we do however meet back a specific problem if we have not yet dealt with it. If we do not learn from our mistakes and transform we won’t change our outcome.
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