Lola Rennt

29 Nov

If I were to compare an American film to Lola Rennt there would not be much to compare but quite a bit to contrast. In American films, there needs to be some sort of exact explanation for why everything happens, but in Lola Rennt Lola has magical powers and time rewinds just because.
The basic premise of the movie is that the protagonist, Lola, needs to get enough money to replace what her boyfriend, Manni, lost to a homeless man. Manni is a small-time criminal, and the money that was stolen belonged to his boss. He needs to give him 100,000c marks in 20 minutes, so he decides to rob a nearby convenience store.
The next part of the film is divided into three differing possibilities of what happens depending on miniscule details. In the first part, Lola can’t attain the money to replace the stolen cash, and Manni robs the convenience store. Both Manni and Lola are surrounded by police, and a nervous cop shoots Lola. Then, Lola says, “Stop,” and the film returns to the start of the first part. This time, she robs her father’s bank, but Lola is slower than in the first part. She only makes it in time to see Manni run over by an ambulance. The last part is the part where everything goes right. Manni finds the homeless man, takes the money back, and gives it to his boss. Lola, instead of going to her father’s bank, goes to a casino and uses some sort of magical power to win more than enough money to pay Manni’s boss (even if it is not necessary).
Most important, in my opinion, is the supernaturalism inherent in the final part of the film. It is seen briefly when Lola discovers that her father is not her biological father, but it actually does something when Lola is at the casino. She puts a 100 mark chip on the number 20 in the roulette and wins the first spin. Then, she bets the money on 20 again, and in order to win once more, she screams and causes glass to break and the roulette to land on 20. Later, on the way to Manni’s location, Lola stops the ambulance that ran over Manni and finds the security guard from her father’s bank having a heart attack. She holds his hand, and his heart rate becomes normal. There is no need to say, “Well, I was able to influence the roulette wheel because of…,” or, “I used this or that to save him,“ and that lack of an explanation makes this movie a hundred times better than any American film doing something similar.
Not only is this supernaturalism beautiful, but the bits seen of other people’s lives is also very interesting. Every time Lola interacts with someone, their lives are changed massively even if the interaction is nothing more than a passing glance. This inevitable randomness of life is wonderfully portrayed through the use of still photographs. When Lola interacts with someone in each of the three parts, a camera starts to sound. Then, a flash starts a clip of several different photos showing what will happen to these people in the future because of their slightly different interactions with Lola. For example, a woman with a baby passes Lola in every part of the film. Sometimes Lola almost bumps into her and other times she completely avoids her. In the first part, her future involves losing her baby to social services and kidnapping another unattended child. Her second future would have her winning the lotto, and in the final part, she would have a religious awakening. Her interactions with Lola are not actually much different in the three parts, but she still has three very different futures ahead of her.
Overall, this film is genius in its portrayal of supernatural elements and the randomness of existence. The fact that it doesn’t need an explanation for this is very European and far more interesting than any American film I’ve seen with supernatural elements.

-SMC

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One Response to “Lola Rennt”

  1. MV December 9, 2010 at 1:55 am #

    Love your insight into the movie. I like the movie a lot as well. Though I don’t know if the randomness or lack of destiny shown in there makes me depressed or optimistic.

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