"Run, Lola, Run"
A Film Review by
Linda Lopez McAlister
on "The Women's Show"
WMNF-FM 88.5, Tampa, FL
August 14, 1999

There haven't been many memorable German films that have made it into U.S. theaters in the last several years. when I was in Germany recently I heard Germans complaining that almost all the films playing there were foreign imports. So it is very nice, indeed, to see the work of a young German filmmaker with loads of talent and originality and youthful zest.

That's what you'll find if you go down to the Tampa Theater this week and take in "Run, Lola, Run." This is the work of Tom Tykwer who has obviously read the Quintin Tarrantino handbook from cover to cover, and is greatly enamored of bravura shot making and every cinematographic trick in the book. Besides the slow motion and closeups of things like telephone receivers, overhead camera shots, shots that have the camera circling around the actors, and clever fast montages, he even throws in a bit of animation for good measure. Much of the film is edited at a really fast pace. Tykwer has a wicked sense of humor and a touch of the philosopher in him and it makes for a really fun and engrossing movie.

You wouldn't think so from a plot summary. Lola (Franke Potente) is a contemporary young woman with the bright scarlet hair currently fashionable among German 20-somethings. She has no visible means of support and lives with her boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) who seems to be trying out for a job with a local drug kingpin. When Manni leaves DM100,000 of the drug guy's money in a plastic bag on a train, he calls Lola in hysterics, terrified that he's going to be killed in 20 minutes when the drug guy finds out. Lola, runs through Berlin for 20 minutes trying to get to him and bail him out of his predicament. And, in the film, she makes this run three times. That's a hour's worth of shots of a woman running. It's an enormous tour de force to turn this idea into a really funny, compelling, exciting and emotional film. Tykwer does it with great style and makes you think at the same time. The three different versions of Lola's great run illustrate the point that any little difference in what you decide to do or in things that just happen to change your plan, or make you a minute earlier or later, can make a momentous difference in your life.

In the first version, Lola's run that includes a stop by her father's bank to ask him for the money ends tragically for Lola and Manni. But the filmmaker lets her do it again and this time she is bitten by a bulldog she had passed by without incident the first time. This delays her long enough to alter all the other things that happen to her along the route. The results are different but still end in disaster for Lola and Manni. On the third run the timing is a bit different still and the results are enormously different from the first two versions.

It's all great fun, well acted by the lead characters (including Herbert Knaup who plays Lola's adulterous father and is currently also playing an adulterous Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in a new German film called "Die Braut").

Needless to say, three 20 minute dashes through Berlin doesn't add up to a very long movie and even with the introductory section and a couple of scenes between the various versions of the run the whole thing runs only about 75 minutes. It's short but sweet and if you want to see what the young generation of German filmmakers are offering up, go see "Run, Lola, Run." You'll enjoy it.

For the WMNF Women's Show, this is Linda Lopez McAlister on Women and Film.

Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. Please do not copy or reproduce this review without permission of the author: mcalister@chuma1.cas.usf.edu

Posted 8/16/99