Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A Moment in Time

The use of time was brilliant in Run Lola Run, a film I truly enjoyed because it showed the randomness of life—one only has power over their own choices and cannot plan for events out of their control. In Run Lola Run, we see Lola fighting to protect her boyfriend, Manni, who has gotten into deep trouble with mobsters. The film unfolds in 20 minute intervals (as Manni only has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 marcs or face impending death), with 3 very different scenario’s playing out. These scenarios are directly a result of a difference in time of a second—for example, in all 3 scenarios, Lola has an interaction or effect on a white car. The white car either gets hit in the front of the car, side of the car or Lola herself lands atop of the car depending on the amount of time it took her to make a decision about what to do next to save her boyfriend. Her timing with this white car is a direct result of her choices and whether she is able to quickly get down the stairs and begin running.

The insightful thing to this film was truly in the endings of each scenario, which showed how easily one decision can derail a person’s life or one moment in the wrong place can end a person’s life (just as Lola was accidentally shot in the first scenario or Manni was accidentally run over by a car in the second scenario). It’s incredibly cliché for a film’s ultimate theme to be “time is fleeting” or “live each moment as if it were your last”—however, Run Lola Run provides a new and refreshing perspective on this whole genre of filmmaking, as evidenced in the different endings. In the first two endings, both Lola and Manni are accidentally killed—the only overlapping theme of their deaths was, simply, bad timing. However, timing worked in their favor (as did luck, with Lola winning thousands of marcs gambling in the casino) and they both walked away from the situation unharmed and extraordinarily rich.

Another interesting aspect of this film, which added to its complexity, was that the audience was rooting for Lola to succeed and for Manni to be saved. The audience felt this way, despite the fact that it was clearly poor choices that put them in this particular predicament. The audience also bore witness to the destructive capabilities of both of the characters, with Manni finding it within himself to rob a supermarket and Lola taking her own father (or the man she thought was her father) hostage in his own bank. The order of the scenarios was also particularly interesting to me, as well, with the last and final scenario showing the goodness and kindness of both characters (juxtaposing against the horror of what had happened in the two previous scenarios). Had the orders of the scenarios been reversed, the audience would have been left with a very different perspective on Lola and Manni—would we have thought that they deserved it, especially after what we saw they were capable of? Or was it the extraordinary circumstances that led to unusual behavior out of both of them? The order of the narration is particularly crucial for the audiences' understanding of Lola and Manni.



Blogger Ifan Wei said...

You touched upon the fact the characters are very easy to connect with. We know nothing of their past other than what is directly significant for the resolution of the repeated 20 minutes of drama. Yet, it is nearly impossible not to root for them as they rob, steal, and attempt various acts of desparation to save him. Also, the couple is obviously involved in shady dealings that got them in this predicament to begin with. Considering this fact, it would seem they deserved the outcome of the first two trials.
Perhaps not directly related, I found the constant running to be a very engaging image. Similar to when I actually hold my breath when I see someone onscreen go underwater, watching someone running with a sense of desparation draws the viewer into the situation.

4/09/2007 4:23 PM  

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