Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Lola's "Ripple Effect" & the Number "20"

In the German film Run Lola Run, the concept that one's actions (significant or seemingly insignificant) affect subsequent events and apparent outcomes is played with through the replay of three completely different "realities."

A slight delay or advancement in "Lola's time" (tripping down the stairs or jumping past the man with the dog as she runs down the stairs of her apartment) changes the her encounter with Mr. Meyer as he drives out of the garage building, also changes whether or not her dad's lover gets a chance to disclose that her baby is from another man. These proceeding events change the ultimate outcome that makes for the completely different conclusions of her dilemma.

Though this concept of the "ripple effect" is not a new one (another great--though underappreciated--film that uses this motif is The Butterfly Effect) Run Lola Run takes this theme to an extreme in its quick scenes of the "still frame," photograph-style revelations of the random characters she runs into during the film. For example, in each of the three "realities" the woman with the stroller either becomes a baby kidnapper(?), a street-side evangelist, or a lotto winner depending on when Lola runs into her. This is a bit too far fetched to me to believe, though it is not clear how many other minor events in the mother's life are affected because of Lola's other interactions changed due to timing.
At the risk of looking too deeping into something minor, I was wondering whether there was any significance to the number Lola chose to gamble on in the casino. It is very, very unlikely that that number would win twice in a row (1440 to 1) and that is why I pondered whether it was a reference to something in the film or just an arbitrary number that had meaning only to the director or writer.



Blogger Tom M said...

Lola has only 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 franks. Someone has suggested on Wikipedia that it's also a subtle reference to Casablanca -- I guess there was a plan in Casablanca to rig the roulette table so that Ilsa and Victor Laszlo could get enough money to buy their exit Visas.

4/04/2007 11:59 AM  

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