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RUN LOLA RUN SUMMARIES

NARRATIVE STRUCTURE
The "heroine is like the avatar in a video game -- Lara Croft made flesh."
The narrative runs like a typical video game.
- like a character in a video game, Lola dies once and sees Manni die once before
figuring out how to "beat the level."
- The opening of the film sets the film up as a game, albeit a soccer game,
however the point remains. Just like somebody who must replay a level in a
video game and learn from their mistakes, Lola is given several more
chances to successfully complete her mission.

Tripartite structure
The film is divided into three main segments (3 RUNS) divided by two red-
filtered scenes of Lola and Manni in bed, fronted by a prologue that clearly
defines the postmodern intentions of the film's author Tykwer.
In each run, Lola bumps into people, talks to them, or simply passes them by,
and the sound of a camera flash warming up can be heard. Their resulting futures
are then conveyed in a series of still frames.
Eg. In one scenario, a woman whom Lola accidentally bumps into remains poor
and kidnaps an unattended baby after her child was taken away by social
workers. In another scenario the woman wins the lottery and becomes rich. In the
third scenario, the woman experiences a religious conversion. The sound of the
camera flash warming up is repeated a final time at the end of the film, when Lola
smiles at Manni's question about what's in her bag.

STYLE
no wasted shots in this 81-minute film.
fast and kinetic, driven except in one short scene by a pounding techno
soundtrack giving it a real energy, surging mercilessly forward toward two
tentative and one final resolution.


PLOT
Lola has twenty minutes to find 100,000 marks to replace an equivalent amount
of money that Manni has foolishly left sitting in a plastic bag in a subway car.
He needs the money to pay off vicious gangsters he works for to avoid being
"rubbed out" by them.
Manni promises to rob a Bolle supermarket at gunpoint to get the money himself
if Lola can't figure out how to raise it.
In the first two segments, Lola and Manni fail catastrophically, causing one of
them to die. But each time the dying character hits the reset button and plays the
game again. Thus the film self-consciously echoes the structure of a video game
- just hit "replay" to bring them back to life for another attempt to achieve their
quest.


THEMES
Free will vs. determinism
Established in the opening narration
The futility of asking questions, as one leads to another and we only travel in
circles.
Lola's interactions with other people are similar in that a small conversation or
interaction with the people on the streets lead to other interactions. For example,
the man on the bike can become a happy, married man or a bum.
The concept of free will is also presented because she has three different realities
to choose from.


Role of time and fate in our lives
The first sound we hear other than music is the sound of a ticking clock. The
opening of the film shows a gothic-looking clock ticking away its demonic second
hand, another demon on its main face. The film opens when the camera plunges
into the mouth of the demon on the face of the clock, warning us that the
characters within it will be swallowed up by time.
We see many clocks in the film: an old clock with green
numbers stuck on it in Lola's house at the start of the movie, a
streamlined modern clock with a minimum of ornamentation in her father's office
that Lola shatters with her trademark scream, a tiny watch with Roman numerals
on an old lady Lola asks for the time as she passes her in the street, while a huge
clock, again with Roman numerals, in the casino in the third segment announces
that Lola is quickly running out of time once again.
But the most important of all clocks is the nondescript one without numbers on
the wall of the Bolle market across the street from Manni - this is the game clock,
the official timepiece. It counts down the twenty minutes in each round, just as a
digital clock counts time in computer games, determining either the player's
success or failure, or their score in the game. This clock is black and white with a
fateful-looking red second hand.
Not only is time always ticking for Lola, just as it is for any hero of a role-playing
video game, but her actions at one time affect the future fate of those she
interacts with, not to mention her success at later stages of the same game.
So it's very much a movie about causality, a point driven home at the start of the
first segment when we see on Lola's mother's television a long row of dominoes
striking each other, causing a seemingly endless series of tumbles.


TECHNIQUES
One obviously postmodern technique is:
1. Tykwer's mixing of conventional colour film, short black and white
segments, and video tape filmed with a hand-held camera.
jarring contrast between film and video tape segments
- highlights a shift in the emotional mood of the film: when Lola runs in
present time, she's always on colour film; but when we see her father
arguing with his illicit lover Jutta Hansen, it shifts to grainier, more
subdued (at least in terms of colour) video tape.
- In fact, video tape is used whenever we see just the secondary characters,
and neither Lola nor Manni are on screen.
- The short black-and-white segments always picture events
remembered or recounted by Lola or Manni, the past pictured in the
medium of the early cinema.

2. Soundtrack
The soundtrack of the film, by Tykwer, Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil, includes
numerous musical quotations of the sustained string chords of The Unanswered
Question, an early 20th-century chamber ensemble work by American composer
Charles Ives. In the original work, the chords are meant to represent the "the
Silences of the Druidswho Know, See and Hear Nothing."

3. Colour
Red
- dominant colour
- Suggestive of blood, death or fate.
- Lola's dyed hair - bright red;
- the telephone she gets Manni's plea for help at the start of the film is red
- there is also a red ambulance containing a paramedic in a red coverall
- a red bag full of money stolen from a grocery store
- a bicycle thief wearing a red soccer shirt with "Gott" written in Gothic letters
on the front
- along with assorted red signs (notably the Bolle market sign), cars, and other
objects.
- Red is the colour of decision and fate, of the gods of the film, of life and death.



Black and white
These colours are constantly contrasted in the film.
Some examples: in the clothes of a group of nuns, in a pair of cars that crash
into each other in each segment, in the dress of the employees at Lola
father's bank, and even in the row of parked cars in the final scenes of each
of the three games. The gangster's car at the end of the film is black, as their
white car (the only one clearly seen in the film) has been smashed up in an
accident.
The many contrasts of black and white are more likely used to symbolize the
clash of obstacles to Lola's progress in each of the three games, as seen
most strikingly in each of the three car crashes in the film. These are always
black on white - even the moped driver who piles into the back of the crashed
cars in Game 3 is wearing a black helmet and a white coverall. This
distinction is more like black and white in a game of chess, serving merely to
distinguish adversaries.

Green and White
Lola wears checked green pants, a sleeveless aqua shirt, and her white
undergarments show constantly.
Green is the colour of nature, the body, and growth.
Egs. of the use of green - green vegetables in the Bolle market, green-covered
walls, a clock in Lola's room with green numbers glued on it, a green garbage bag
full of money Lola steals from her father's bank in Game 2, a large white tanker
truck with the green letters "L" and "E" on the fender that Lola is almost run over
by before entering the casino in Game 3, green velvet on the roulette wheel table,
a pile of green and white casino chips that Lola cashes in after her victories in
roulette, and a green and white ring with "GO" written on it on Lola's finger.
In the scene in Game 1 when Manni starts to rob the Bolle market and Lola
arrives too late to dissuade him, Tykwer's camera frames Lola against the
background of a green and white building, while Manni is framed by gold and red
structures and objects behind him in the market. Lola is a force of nature and
growth, with her churning green legs, whereas Manni is trapped in the worlds of a
dire fate and an unhealthy need for Geld, gold, cold cash.

Gold
symbolizes wealth, and perhaps blind materialism.
Manni's telephone booth, from which he pleads for money from friends, is gold;
the Spirale sign behind him and the door frames and checkout stalls of the Bolle
market, a potential source of ill-gotten gain, are also gold; the sign over the door
and many of the metal fittings in the bank are also gold. The workmen carrying a
large pane of glass across the street, a precious cargo, wear gold jumpers; the
rail cars Lola runs past are gold; the handles and main plate of the roulette wheel
in Game 3 are a shimmering gold, as are the numbers on the casino betting table
and the bag full of legally won money Lola carries away at the end, a treasure for
her future.
Tykwer's playing with colour illustrates both the film's complicated stylistic
structure, but also the melding of high and popular art: we know the role of things
through the way they are colour coded, just like objects and characters in a
computer game.

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