Run Lola Run Apr 13, 2017 13:36:01 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Apr 13, 2017 13:36:01 GMT -5
Run Lola Run (1998)
Directed by: Tom Tykwer
Directed by: Tom Tykwer
Franka Potente runs and runs in Run Lola Run.
NOTE: This film was recommended to me by Lily Yood for "Steve Pulaski Sees It," a month where I watch twenty-five films requested by friends, fans, and readers.
There is a terrific book by French writer Raymond Queneau called Exercises in Style, which features the same story of a man boarding a bus and seeing two oddly looking passengers only to see them two hours later, the one asking the other how to put a button on an overcoat. Queneau boldly and brilliantly takes this story and retells it 99 times, each time using a different literary or arbitrary style. At one point he uses basic notation. At another, haiku, passive voice, and even some weirdly unintelligible babble late in the book.
Tom Tykwer's Run Lola Run brought me back to the experience of reading Queneau, and both share the same characteristic of being a lot more fun to discuss than to watch or read at some points. Run Lola Run is less a film and more an exercise in style, with a simple setup: Lola (Franka Potente) gets a call from her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu), who has left a bag containing 100,000 Deutsche Marks on a subway train that was subsequently stolen by a bum. The bag was supposed to be delivered to a gangster acquaintance of Manni, who will now presumably kill him as a result of his incompetence. Lola has twenty minutes to devise a plan.
Tykwer decides to tell Lola's story like a video game, showing Lola race through the busy streets of Germany on-foot in efforts to meet up with her boyfriend, obtain the money, or some combination of the two. We see her do this with notable variations on her events three different times. Through hyper-kinetic editing and breakneck cinematography that flashes reds and yellows at lightning speeds, the experience for the viewer is made less like a film and more of an immersive trance. We even get "backstories" on the people Lola passes by or bumps into on the streets, showing rapid snapshots of their life as if we're looking at their history by paging through their photo-albums.
Tykwer and editor Mathilde Bonnefoy appear to take a great deal of influence from music videos and the visual excess of the 1990s style that ostensibly spawned from the musical and social excesses of the 1980s. The result is hypnotic if not sometimes nauseating; it's not the film to watch with a headache or a hangover. Nothing short of impressive is how well Tykwer commits to this fairly distant style that prohibits us from really getting to know Lola and Manni as people or even as a unit, aside from one emotional, intimate moment that's over as quickly as any one of the film's immediate cuts.
Run Lola Run feels like a film only in the most conventional sense of it being a visual project with a story and a feature-length runtime. Other than those basic and horribly general "requirements," it actually moves and operates like an amalgamation between a video game you cannot play and a music video with many songs (most of which techno and electronica music). For this alone, reactions are bound to be very polarizing. The film is basically an endless loop of stylistic characteristics that flaunt technical and aesthetic prowess with in-your-face colors and graphics like only the 1990s could do even half as well as the 1980s.
With all that in mind, Run Lola Run is pretty effective in what it sets out to do, which is show how small, ostensibly insignificant occurrences during our daily lives alter the course of events in our day and even our lives. It's a riveting concept you could lose countless hours of sleep over even more than if you stayed up worrying about what tomorrow's events would bring if you simply accomplished all your tasks in an orderly manner. Take note of how the crabby middle-aged woman Lola bumps into during each of her three ones has not only a different reaction to being pushed aside each time, but a different backstory and a change in events. There's a beautiful, underlying concept of detail within Run Lola Run despite it being so frequently loud in more than a visual sense.
This same month, I was requested to review Themroc, a 1970s French film with no dialog other than discombobulated gibberish. It was an intriguing experience, but not one I'd be willing to sit through again any time soon. Now, by someone else, I'm requested to review a film that essentially operates like an anti-film, with a very general plot and a collection of defining moments that are more memorable than any character we meet in the film (I honestly watched the scene where the ambulance crashes through a large pane of glass being transported by several workers at a crosswalk during Lola's second run five times over). If there's one thing I'm aware of it when it comes to what some folks are watching, experimentation in film is not only alive and well, but interest and the act of embracing experimentation is also discernible on a more mainstream sense than I maybe would've guessed.
Starring: Franka Potente and Moritz Bleibtreu. Directed by: Tom Tykwer.