Run Lola Run The language that Voltov discovered has inspired the works of many filmmakers from all over the world. The film Run Lola Run (1999) by Tom Tykwer, is probably one of the most innovative films of today's Hollywood style movie, which many similar filming and editing techniques originated in Voltov's Man with a Movie Camera. Tykwer uses a number of different ways to film Lola as she runs to save her no good boyfriend from certain death. From an artistic point of view, the editing deserves most of the credit for all of the intensity that is felt by the viewer. Run Lola Run has a very complex story, which is very interesting on its own. However by using the avant-garde techniques of filming and editing developed and mastered by Vertov, the movie becomes alive and fast-paced keeping the audience in suspense at all times.
In Run Lola Run, Lola has twenty minutes to find 100, 000 marks if she is to save the life of Manni, her boyfriend who lost the money which was picked up by a homeless person on the subway. Manni has until 12 o'clock noon to get the money, or his boss, a drug dealer, will kill him. Lola runs into the streets of Berlin attempting to find the money one way or another. From the opening frames of the movie, several "visual treats" set the tone of the film.
There is a clock sound with animation of a huge clock at warp speed. With the aid of accelerated speed of the frames, dissolves, thousands of people are passing into and out frame. Within these thousands of people, certain characters, which are later introduced into the story, are focused on for a split second. This foreshadowing technique, hints who some of the characters are, in the film. It sets a high tempo where figures collide, quickly in and out of frame to the narration of a God-like voice that asks us questions about questions of man and where we come from. He gives us an answer, but it is probably the last answer we would expect: soccer.
After the credits are displayed through an animated cartoon of Lola running, the real story begins and Tykwer establishes a smooth flowing arrangement of editing techniques that replicate those used by Vertov. Because there is panic felt right off the start as the phone rings, a techno drum thumps a heartbeat while the conversation on the phone is cut into rapid-fire editing from medium to close-up shots to Lola and Manni's expressions and dialogue. The quick cuts are very attractive, as the camera at times doesn't even move an inch, but with so many of them, there is a quick tempo that escalates on the dramatic parts of the conversation. These quick cuts are very similar to the rapid-fire editing between the juxtaposing clips of the woman blinking, the window shutters, and the camera lens opening in Man with a Movie Camera. Throughout Run Lola Run, Tykwer's use of creative tricks of the camerawork and editing, give the story drama and comedy in 3 trials of Lola attempting to save her boyfriend. The repetition of Lola running through the streets of Berlin is original and anything but boring, as cameras flow with her running to her father to get Manni the money.
Quick cuts, high and low angle shots, split-screens, fast and slow motion, animation, still frames, and symbolic music are amongst all the camera tricks Tykwer uses in the footsteps of Vertov. Several parts of Run Lola Run also use the effect of still-frame flashforwards to tell little stories within the main story. Like in Man with a Movie Camera, still frames were used to emphasize characters. However, Tykwer goes beyond the use of the stills to emphasize character. He used them to tell little stories about certain people Lola bumps into on her path to get the money. If Lola interacted with certain characters amongst her path, the camera would focus on that person and a series of flashforwards would snap ten different shots looking into their future.
Each flashforwards episode consists of a series of almost subliminal stills; each appears on screen for approximately one third of a second only. The flashforwards depict drastically different and quite extreme outcomes for each person, creating a humorous effect for the audience. It is as if Lola, in imagining / performing a series of three contrasting futures for herself, also creates different possible futures for other people. This editing technique is powerful in that the viewer is allowed to know how even the slightest split second difference in Lola's action, changes the very lives of the people she encounters.
This in turn foreshadows a different result of her quest to find Manni 100 000 marks every trial. Vertov's unconventional ways of filming different camera angles with the use of machines and vehicles, is apparent in the film Run Lola Run. The different angles of shots, including helicopter and crane shots, reflect the myriad of perspectives possible at any one time. Particularly striking are the shots featuring Lola and Manni, in which the frame is split into two, three and sometimes even four sections. Lola and Manni's points of view are revealed simultaneously and the performance of identity by different individuals is intertwined. Tykwer uses the split-screen effect to add suspense when noon approaches and Lola hasn't arrived to Manni's aid.
The split-screen replaces the purpose of the cross-cut effect and displays both person's point of view. She is running and he is deciding whether he should rob the store or not, so the suspense is increased when it is clear that she is very close to him. In Man with a Movie Camera, the split screen was also used to heighten the emotions of the audience. In the opening frame of the film, we see the cameraman setting up his camera on top of a camera (appendix 6), giving the audience the suspense of what he is preparing to shoot and with the effect of an interesting and different image. This suspense is not as extreme as the effect of the split screen in Run Lola Run, nor does it provide a similar narrative function, however, this editing technique serves as a purpose in building montage in both films. Run Lola Run and Man with a Movie Camera are two very similar avant-garde films of their time specializing in editing, however the two films are completely different in plot.
Man with a Movie Camera is a documentary and Run Lola Run is a suspenseful drama. There are no actors, dialogue, inter titles, scenario, or sets in Man with a Movie Camera. Vertov designed the film as an experiment with "the aims at creating a truly international absolute language." Run Lola Run, on the other hand, uses actors, scripts, sets, dialogue etc. to tell a story with the idea of one controlling one's own fate. This in turn, demonstrates how Vertov has had an impact on films of all types. Tykwer may not have been an admirer of the works of Vertov and he might not have even seen Man with a Movie Camera, but his style of shooting with innovative camera angles and unconventional editing techniques, demonstrates the existence of Vertov's styles and ideology.
If the fact that Tykwer didn't study the works of Vertov, this would boost the reputation of Vertov's impact on the film industry, as many other filmmakers have produced films with the same innovative techniques. "I am kino-eye, I am a mechanical eye. I, a machine, show you the world as only I can see it. Now and forever, I free myself from human immobility, I am in constant motion, I draw near, then away from objects, I crawl under, I climb on to them. I move apace with the muzzle of a galloping horse, I plunge full speed into a crowd, I outstrip running soldiers, I fall on my back, I ascend with an aeroplane, I plunge and soar together with plunging and soaring bodies. Now I, a camera, fling myself along their resultant, maneuvering in the chaos of movement, recording movement, starting with movements composed of the most complex combinations.
Free of the limits of time and space, I put together any given points in the universe, no matter where I've recorded them. My path leads to the creation of a fresh perception of the world. I decipher in a way a world unknown to you." (17) Vertov originates a timeless ideology about the possibilities of the movie camera, and these ideas pertain to the filmmakers of an endless era. Tykwer is one to have brought to life these ideas on a new level in Run Lola Run, which glorifies the camera's results with movement in every frame.
Run Lola Run feeds the kino-eye with collision, contrast, and conflicting scenes, which make the film a huge success in giving the audience a new type of story with suspense, comedy and drama.