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Run Lola Run

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Throughout the film, Run Lola Run, is a central theme of time. This theme is presented successfully through the use of characters, symbols and ideas presented in the film. The whole film centres on Lola running to save Manni and this in turn demonstrates the theme, time and the race against it, setting the upbeat pace for the movie. Tykwer, the director, presents an intricate approach to time in the film as he considers time as reoccurring or cyclical drawn from Nietzsche’s view stating all time is circular and repeats itself endlessly.

Tykwer extends this idea to a concept of time as a spiral that appears to repeat, but each repetition is vaguely different in small yet hugely noteworthy details. All the characters excluding Lola appear to be dominated by time and fate, as in fact most characters in life are also. The characters accept their fate and limitations in their lives, deciding to suffer the consequences of the lack of the vibrant energy that only Lola exudes. Jutta if tearfully pregnant while Papa suffers his alcoholic wife and ‘wild’ daughter. Only Lola refuses to be bound by the constraints of time. In the first ‘spiral’ of time, Lola is accidentally shot.

After reaffirming Manni’s love for her she utters ‘stop’, demanding time to re-occur and perform its spiral again. On the second ‘spiral’ time is a few seconds different and Lola endeavours to resolve the errors of the first ‘spiral’ only to endure further misfortune. Again she utters the word ‘stop’ and time repeats its spiral again. It is only during the third cycle that Lola appears to be successful and it appears that the film concludes happily. Minor characters also, help to present the theme of time effectively. The minor characters that encounter Lola running through the street have multiple destinies that spiral out of their control.

For example, Lola meets a young mother in the street in the three different repetitions of time. At each occasion small details amplify with enormous significance. By bumping into the young mother on the first occasion, time ‘dominos’ into a destiny that sees the young mother having a nervous breakdown and losing her family. On the second occasion she winds a substantial amount of money in a lottery. On her third encounter with Lola the mother becomes intensely religious. Tykwer is stating that time may not only repeat itself but it may also shift into any one of innumeral different possibilities.

There are a number of symbols reflecting the theme of time throughout the film however the most noticeable symbol is that of the spiral. Spirals dominate the opening passage where a cartoon Lola falls through a spiral in the opening credits. This is deeply symbolic to the theme as it illustrates the repetition of time, but also Lola running through the heart of time with the spiral therefore revolving around her. The scene where Lola throws the phone is extremely significant in expressing the theme of time. The elasticised phone cord is itself a spiral is thrown in to the air where it performs another spiral and lands back in the cradle.

This is significant as this scene is where time supposedly begins or repeats the spiral of events that the film centres around. At the end of the film the audience is left wondering if the spirals of time really did end or if they will keep continuing eternally. There is a suggestion that Lola may still be running through an endless spirals of time or even that the audience themselves are endlessly witnessing, affecting and being affected by spirals of possibilities that they cannot be objective observers, but participants in a complex, cosmic web of time.

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