Run Lola Run (Germany, 1998)

Directed by: Tom Tykwer. This was sort of a world-film classic of the late 90’s—I remember it being referred to me along with Amelie, although they’re very different movies. I really didn’t remember much about this one—it’s been 8 years for me—so it was like watching it for the first time. It’s certainly a very visceral, fast-paced, and very unique film, although it owes some strange lineage to Rashomon and even Groundhog Day. Ultimately, though, this film operates entirely in its own world, with the constant repetition of the frantic 20-minute deadline, of the animation sequence, of the slightly altered encounters with pedestrians, and a different ending to each. Which one is the “right” one? The last one we see? The least depressing one? From whose perspective is this film shot? The director is playing God in a remarkably transparent way—and some Eastern mystical god who reads alternate worlds theory philosophy for that matter—as he gives us all of those brief flash-forwards with grainy polaroids to see the futures of the various pedestrians who populate the story’s sidelines (most of whom, strictly speaking, don’t advance the plot in any way). There’s also something to be said for Tykwer’s use of different film methods—16mm for the running sequences and most of the real “drama”, video for the interiors and asides with her father and other small scenes, and that delightfully crude, squiggly, late-90’s Dr.Katz-style animation. Apparently, they used to show this in high school philosophy classes. I can think of worse films to use to introduce kids to the topic. I can also think of worse ways to spend two hours. I highly recommend this film. Maybe there’s time to catch up with the rest of his filmography before Cloud Atlas

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