Run Lola Run

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Run Lola Run (original German title Lola rennt, translates as Lola Runs) is a 1998 film by German screenwriter and director Tom Tykwer, starring Franka Potente as Lola.

In the movie “Run Lola Run” (Lola rennt in German-1998), the butterfly effect is represented more clearly. There, minor and almost sub-conscious actions in everyday life can be seen to have gross and wide spread effects upon the future. For example, the fact that Lola bumps into someone instead of passing by may lead to a painful death after suffering paralysis. As such, seemingly inconsequential actions can be seen to have drastic long-term results.

Lola’s boyfriend Manni is trying to prove his loyalty to a gang boss. Manni’s final task in a particular job is to deliver 100,000 Deutsche Marks to his boss Ronnie. Everything goes wrong. Lola’s moped is stolen and she is unable to transport Manni to the meeting place. After waiting for her Manni decides to use the metro. He accidentally leaves the bag, with its 100,000 Marks, in the underground after an encounter with a bum and two ticket-controllers. The money is then found by the homeless man. Manni realises what he’s done and soon makes a desperate phone call to Lola, asking her to think of something, to help him. If he does not have the money by the meeting at 12 noon, he will certainly be killed. Lola promises to get him the 100,000 marks. Manni warns her that he will rob a supermarket on the street corner if Lola has not come in 20 minutes. Can Lola get him the money and save his life? It is at this point that the three sequential alternative realities begin.

The film features several allusions to Alfred Hitchcock’s film Vertigo. Like that film, it features recurring images of spirals, such as the ‘Spirale’ Cafe behind Manni’s phone box and the spiral staircase down which Lola runs. In addition, the painting on the back wall of the casino of a woman’s head seen from behind is based on a shot in Vertigo: Tykwer disliked the empty space on the wall behind the roulette table and commissioned production designer Alexander Manasse to paint a picture of Kim Novak as she appeared in Vertigo. Manasse could not remember what she looked like in the film and so decided to paint the famous shot of the back of her head. The painting took fifteen minutes to complete.

There are also several references to German culture in the film. The most notable is the use of Hans Paetsch as a narrator. Paetsch is a famous voice of children’s stories in Germany, recognized by millions. Many of the small parts are cameo roles by famous German actors (for example the bank teller). Also, two quotes by German football legend Sepp Herberger appear: “The ball is round, the game lasts 90 minutes, everything else is pure theory,” and, “After the game is before the game.” (wikipedia)

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The meaning of the butterfly
Why pop culture loves the ‘butterfly effect,’ and gets it totally wrong
By Peter Dizikes
June 8, 2008

SOME SCIENTISTS SEE their work make headlines. But MIT meteorologist Edward Lorenz watched his work become a catch phrase. Lorenz, who died in April, created one of the most beguiling and evocative notions ever to leap from the lab into popular culture: the “butterfly effect,” the concept that small events can have large, widespread consequences. The name stems from Lorenz’s suggestion that a massive storm might have its roots in the faraway flapping of a tiny butterfly’s wings.

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10 thoughts on “Run Lola Run

  1. in high school my little old german teacher made us watch this film, along with many other films starring franke potente. i caught on to the small casted roles with well-known german actors. (the princess and the warrior is another film that has many of the same actors)
    i like the use of color in run lola run. the red hair, the red phone, the green or yellow bag. also, the scene of manni and lola talking in bed with the red light. the contrast between the red in that intimate scene and the red as a sense of urgency with her running and the phone is great.

  2. I’ve seeen this film once before and i really think that why i liked it so much more this time around it really is a kind of butterfly effect and has to be watch again to really appreciate it i really do like it

  3. It confused me that nothing was explained in the movie about how or why she was able to go back and change the future, was it just happening for the sake of the movie? Or was there a reason why she was able to change it? Or were the three different results just thoughts which ran threw her head, none of which really happened?

  4. I appreciate how this film was made in every sense. However, I do not have time to critique all of them.
    The most prominent thing to me EACH time I see this film is the element of sound combined with image. There are slight nuances all throughout and I do not think this film would have been as successful had they not used the musicians they did. The score is just as important as the visual elements and they compliment each other well, adding mood and atmosphere.

  5. Mary– the way I take it is that time was repeated in a sense, as Lola accidently shot the man in the store because she didn’t coordinate the safety and the trigger, but next time around with a gun she intuitively knew how to do it (they tried to make it apparent, but it was not obvious). She did the same thing as a cartoon when she ran across the dog. First time she screamed, later she jumped over him and growled back.
    Memory:Memory

  6. I really found this video very interesting. The concept of showing the the alt. scenarios helped and hurt the video. In a way it felt like choose-your-own-adventure book. However, showing the the “restart” of the video when she drops the phone makes the film too repetitive and drawn-out.

  7. I have always wondered if little decisions I make in my life have a significant impact in my life and the world around me. This video make me think of that even harder. However I also have a strong belief in fate. Weather the butterfly affect is true or not maybe things happen for that reason in the long run. After reading the description of the movie on the blog I had more appreciation for the movie because of the subtle references through out the movie and it actually made me want to see it again.

  8. I really thought that one of the key aspects to the movie was the way in which the sound and the music were fused together, the repetitive nature of the music really set the tone and helped to tie the story together. Also the snippets of animation added something different and interesting to the flow of the film. The most compelling aspect was the repetitive story line, and the idea that one little decision could change the outcome of an event drastically or minimally. I personally don’t want to think of all the decisions that I could have change that could have taken me somewhere drastically different…it’s too mind boggling.

  9. The movie was very interesting! The three alternate endings made the movie even better, since ultimately what I wanted was a good ending. Lola and Manni are two very unique characters as well.

  10. run lola was a movie from 1998 with a great cinematographer but movies have taken what has been done in the past and run with lola. ala her not so great postafomentiontioned movies as total crap. i think my roomate up stairs can hear me typing….will girl with the butterfly… be as good…noway.

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