‘Run Lola Run’ (1998, Tom Tykwer) is a visually astounding and excitingly inventive film that plays on the themes of co-incidence, fate and the importance of love and time. Lola’s story of how to help her boyfriend Manni find 100,000 deutchmarks in twenty minutes is told in three strikingly different ways all ending up with extremely different consequences.
I choose to focus on the sequence when Lola sets out to find the money the first time, but fails – I found because it was so fast paced the editing and sound was interesting and very effective.
The scene starts with Lola running down a road next to an ambulance the audience hears the on-screen diegetic sound effect of the ambulance siren- this could symbolise the tension and urgency of the situation, however I think that the siren is effective because the audience sees that ordinary every day life is still happening although something extra ordinary and potentially life changing is happening to Lola.
The shots in this scene are fast and all last specifically one to two seconds this is done to make the audience feel anxiety and tension as we watch Lola run to her boyfriend. The shots are all cut fast and are straight cuts- this looks simple yet rapidly paced and effective, for example there is a shot from Lola running for one second, to a straight cut shot of the ambulance driving held for one second this shows how Lola is in a rush and is focusing on the moving ambulance.
The music in this tense scene is parallel, it is fast paced with a techno beat that seems to imitate a heartbeat, it builds tension as every few seconds there is a sound that seems to be a door slamming shut in the music. The music fits in well with Lola running frantically down a street, as the audience can see the anticipation and suspense building up.
There is a sound of the door closing in the background music which fits in perfectly with transition from a shot of the ambulance to a straight cut of the gun in Manni’s pocket as he is walking towards the supermarket, the sound bridge of music in ‘Run Lola Run’ is a fast paced techno beat that continues throughout the sequence this is used to create a smooth transition, so the music still fits in with a different scene and builds tension.
The shot of the gun in Manni’s pocket as he walks towards the supermarket creates tension as it is filmed for exactly eleven seconds. Although it may seem a very long time to be focussed on something, the audiences attention is grabbed, they can take in every detail and link the images and the tense, jumpy music together The audience can link the gun and the super market together to see that Manni is likely to rob the supermarket in order to get the 100,000 deutchmarks..
A straight cut from the gun in Manni’s pocket to Lola running down a road contrasts because the shots of Lola are cut so that they are each two or three seconds long and create a fast paced urgent feeling, whereas the shot with Manni walking towards the supermarket seemed nervous, slow, anxious and stressed. The music continues as Lola runs, however we cannot hear her footsteps, this seems out of the ordinary, and stylised and shows the audience that Lola is focussed on running to Manni and nothing is distracting her.
There is a shot of a clock at one minute to twelve o’clock, the shot is held for three seconds, this is long enough for the audience to take in the urgency of the situation.
Tension builds further as Manni looks through the window at the shoppers and the music starts to have a voice of a man whispering in German. Although this is probably not intended- it gives a sense that the non-diegetic voice in the background music is whispering to Manni what he should do- like a conscience. A straight cut shot of Manni is then shown with the diegetic sound of the ambulance in the background- this could symbolise danger and a warning that he should not rob the shop- due to the later consequences of his girlfriend dying.
There is a wipe cut to a split screen on Manni and Lola. A split screen is used in ‘Run Lola Run’ to emphasise how the two main characters are feeling at the same time the spilt screen also shows the contrast between Manni who is stationary and Lola who is running. The audience can compare and contrast how they both look and where they both are. In this scene Manni looks anxious as he waits outside the supermarket waiting for Lola, on the other side of the screen we see Lola running frantically to Manni. Lola says a non-diegetic voice-over saying ‘wait, wait Manni, please, wait for me’ this links the images together although Manni can clearly not hear her we see he looks confused and thoughtful this creates further apprehension and anxiety.
There is a sound effect as a shot of the town clock comes onto the split screen at the bottom of the screen. The sweeping sound effect takes our attention of Manni and Lola and allows us to focus on the importance of time and the clock reading one minute to twelve o’clock. This also puts emphasis on the urgency of the situation.
The clock then wipe cuts out of the split screen and we can see Manni walking into the shop with Lola behind him. On the other screen we can see Lola’s point of view of Lola looking at Manni going into the shop- this creates frustration because Manni has just missed Lola.
The music subtly changes to a different faster paced beat symbolising the peak of the excitement. There is a fast cut from Lola running, to Manni firing a gun at the supermarket ceiling, this is done to show how near Lola is to getting to Manni, it also shows that if Lola got to Manni earlier the robbery would not have happened and Lola’s fate would not be doomed. When the gun is fired, the music stops for a split second this creates impact and shock, as the music builds back up it creates further anxiety.
The shots of Manni telling the customers in the shop to lie on the floor are repeated several times, they are jump cut to emphasise the nerves and excitement.
A graphic match is used between the policeman when he enters the shop and Manni, the lighting and their poses are similar creating a smooth visual transfer. This graphic match is used to show how Manni and the policeman may be in similar positions but their roles in society are completely different. The shots are one seconds or less long as the music returns to a jumpy techno beat and Lola helps Manni rob the supermarket. There are jump cuts from Manni stealing the money from the cash registers to Lola looking worried- this creates growing tension, as the audience knows that they are waiting for something to happen.
There is a wipe cut, which could symbolise doors (prison doors) slamming down, possibly symbolising how Manni and Lola’s fate could have turned out. As they run out the music changes after the slam of the wipe cut from the stressful techno beat to the peaceful ‘What a difference a Day Makes’- this contrapuntal background music does not typically fit in with the image of two people running down a street with guns and a bag of money- because this image is usually associated with criminals and gangsters and does not fit in with the calm 1950’s music, however it creates a sense of irony and makes the scene look beautiful and calm in some ways and strangely out of sync and awkward in others.
At first Lola and Manni are slowed down when running, then it goes back to a normal pace- that looks fast and rushed in comparison- this is done to show the contrast between fast paced movement and movement that has been slowed down. Faster cuts start to come in as Manni and Lola keep running- this mirrors earlier on in the sequence I am analysing, and therefore the audience will probably become aware that the tension is building up again. Shots are repeated twice as the camera pans around the screen- this is done to show the look of frustration and helplessness on Manni and Lola’s faces when they see that police cars surround them. There is an on-screen diegetic sound of the red bag with money in it being thrown in the air, this captures the audiences attention, and we can therefore relate to why the policeman shoots Lola- because he is distracted.
There are fast paced shots from the bag to the policeman, Manni and Lola as Lola is shot. All sounds including the music stop when the gunshot is seen and heard- this is done to show the impact and shock on the audience, and to show the obvious importance of this event. The audience can faintly hear Lola’s breathing as orchestral, sad; violin music is slowly heard this is too adding extra shock and sadness. There is emphasis on Manni dropping his gun – this sounds louder than it naturally would, this shows the impact and significance of dropping the gun because that was the weapon Lola was shot with. There is a shot held for a long time of Lola lying of the ground until the screen fade out into a red screen- this is unusual and could signify blood, love and passion. The red screen also relates to the red telephone, Lola’s red hair and the red bag full money.
To conclude sound and editing were used in many ways to create meaning for the audience in ‘Run Lola Run’, from contrapuntal sound used to contrast with what the audience sees on the screen to give the image a different look or feeling and diegetic sound effects that can be symbolic to the story line. To fast cuts that last around one second or less to show tension and how quick paced the storyline is.