Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen Run Lola Run, you may not want to read this post.

I was reminded of one of my favourite films the other day when someone sent this link to a 3D discussion board. He wrote that if he actually animated a character doing this, no one would believe it was possible in reality. The exhiliration of the dancer in this clip is like that of the main character in Run Lola Run. Ninety-eight per cent of the reviews you read of the film will use the word "kinetic". Certainly, my breathing gets deeper and my heart beat goes up when I watch the sequences in the film where Lola races (three times over) to save the man she loves. I want to run with her because her motion is so unbelievably and recklessly passionate. That's actually what the director, Tom Tykwer, says is the theme of the movie.

"What happens is absolutely universal as far as both theme and content are concerned. It is this woman's passion alone that brings down the rigid rules and regulations of the world surrounding her. Love can move mountains, and does. Over and above all the action, the central driving force of this film is romance." What no review I've found mentions (nor does Tykwer) -- though it's there plainly in the movie -- is whether in the end it's actually worth moving mountains. In the context of this movie, Lola runs to save the life of her cute-but-whiny petty criminal boyfriend, Manni. In the bedroom scene that divides the first and second "runs", Lola and her boyfriend have a classic post-coital conversation where she asks Manni why he loves her. "Because you're the best," Manni fumbles. "The best what?" Lola probes. "The best girl," Manni fumbles again. "Of all the girl's in the world, I'm the best?" Lola challenges dubiously. "Ja." Lola's not convinced, but wills herself back to life and begins her second run to save Manni. The song lyrics that accompany her go "I don't know if your love is true." The theme of unrequited love is echoed in the scenes between Lola's still-married father and his mistress, who tells him she's pregnant. "What am I going to do, wait around until I'm too old for the man I love to decide whether he wants me?" The film is ambivalent about Manni's love for Lola--and about men's love for women in general--but is certain of Lola's passion for Manni, or, more likely for passion itself. She acquires powers to heal and control the fates (perhaps even stop time) whilst Manni at best attracts blind luck. When I first saw Run Lola Run, what struck me most was how wasted her actions were. All this energy, all this power, expended for whom, exactly? For cute-but-whiny Manni? Tykwer ends the film on another ambivalent note; the final shot focuses on Manni, implying that his future beyond the film with his "best girl" may not be a long one. I'd like to think that Lola's passion for Manni actually pushes her to another (higher) plane. Of course, I realize that this plays into the oldest German literary trope, Goethe’s Ewig-Weibliche (the eternal woman who elevates and civilizes man). But, in my fantasy, Lola rises for herself and not for mankind—or for womankind for that matter—and runs for the sheer pleasure of sensing her body in space.

I can’t wait for Spring.

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