Run Lola Run

Run Lola Run Information

Run Lola Run (, literally Lola Runs) is a 1998 German film, written and directed by Tom Tykwer and starring Franka Potente as Lola and Moritz Bleibtreu as Manni. The story follows a woman who needs to obtain 100,000 German marks (50,984 Euro) in 20 minutes to save her boyfriend's life. The film's three scenarios are reminiscent of the 1981 Krzysztof Kie"?lowski film Blind Chance; following Kie"?lowski's death, Tykwer directed his planned film Heaven.



The film begins with Lola (Franka Potente) receiving a phone call from her distraught boyfriend, Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu). Manni is a small-time criminal and, during an important job collecting 100,000 marks, he relied on Lola to take him and the money to his boss, Ronnie; since Lola's moped was stolen on her journey, Manni was forced to travel by train, only to accidentally leave the money on the train. Spotting a homeless man examining the money bag as the train departed, Manni pursued the train, only to find the man and the money gone.

Calling from a phone booth, Manni explains he has 20 minutes to gather 100,000 marks before Ronnie arrives and kills him. Planning to rob a nearby supermarket, Manni is urged to wait by Lola, who promises to find the money. She decides to ask her father, "Papa" (Herbert Knaup), who is a bank manager.

The main part of the film is divided in three "runs". Each run starts from the same situation but develops differently and has a different outcome. Each run contains various flash-forward sequences, showing how the lives of the people that Lola bumps into develop after the encounter. In each run, those people are affected in different ways.

First run

Hanging up the phone, Lola starts running and passes a man with a dog; the dog growls at her, causing her to sprint faster. Lola runs through the streets of Berlin towards her father's bank. She collides with a woman pushing a baby carriage, who is shown to later steal a baby when hers is taken into custody. Continuing, Lola runs alongside a cyclist offering his bike, which she refuses; a flash-forward shows his bike is stolen, but he later marries a nurse at the hospital where he recovers. Lola then causes a car crash, which involves her father's colleague, Mr. Meyer, and Manni's boss, Ronnie. As Lola arrives at the bank, Papa's mistress reveals she is pregnant, causing Papa to dismiss Lola's request for help; Papa reveals Lola isn't his biological daughter, and announces he is leaving his family to elope with his mistress.

Leaving the bank, Lola passes a banker shown in to later be paralyzed in a car accident, then killing herself shortly after. Manni meanwhile uses a blind lady's phone card to request money, only to fail. Lola keeps on running and eventually ends up parallel to an ambulance that narrowly misses crashing into a glass pane carried by workmen. Lola runs on to meet Manni, missing the deadline by moments; shouting his name, he is unable to hear her. Manni's robbery already in progress, Lola decides to help him rob the store. The two flee on foot afterwards but find themselves surrounded by police, and a nervous police officer accidentally shoots Lola in the chest.

Fatally wounded, Lola recalls a conversation with Manni about their love. Struggling to tell Manni if she wants to leave him, the movie returns to dying Lola; since she refuses to die, the film then reverts to their phone call.

Second run

Hanging up, Lola runs only to be tripped by the man with the dog; falling down the stairs, Lola injures her leg, making her limp. Running to the bank, she collides with the woman pushing a baby carriage, who instead wins the lottery. Passing the cyclist, she accuses him of stealing the bike he is selling; a flash forward shows this leads him to become homeless. Causing another car accident between Mr. Meyer and Ronnie, Lola arrives at the bank moments later because of her limp, the delay allowing Papa's mistress to explain he isn't the child's father. Lola hears more of the argument this time and becomes infuriated. Passing the banker, a flash forward shows her falling in love with one of her colleagues.

Manni, again borrowing the blind lady's phone card, unsuccessfully tries to borrow money. Taking a security officer's gun, Lola robs the bank and escapes because the police mistake her for a fleeing hostage. Passing the ambulance, Lola asks to ride in the vehicle, distracting the driver and causing it to hit the carried pane of glass. Again missing Manni by moments, Lola calls his name, only for him to hear. Manni holsters his gun and walks to Lola, only to be hit by the ambulance, fatally wounding him.

Manni recalls asking Lola how she would cope with his death. The film briefly returns to the present day and shows Manni refusing to die before restarting once more at the beginning of Lola's run.

Third run

Hanging up, Lola runs and leaps over the punk and his dog. Running to the bank, she avoids the woman with the baby carriage and misses the cyclist; the cyclist instead offers his bike to the homeless man, who uses Manni's money to buy it. Further ahead than normal, Lola is nearly hit by Mr. Meyer's car, preventing his collision with Ronnie. Thus avoiding Ronnie's car, Mr. Meyer proceeds to pick up Papa. Since Lola can no longer speak to Papa, she heads straight for Manni, only to stop at a casino. Betting 100 marks on a roulette table, she wins two consecutive bets, raising 122,500 marks. Approaching the ambulance from behind, Lola climbs inside as it avoids the carried pane of glass. Recognizing the patient inside as a security guard from her father's bank, Lola realizes he has suffered a heart attack, and holds his hand to help calm him.

Meanwhile, the blind lady from whom Manni borrows a phone card leads Manni to notice the tramp with his money, who passes on the cyclist's bike. Manni chases him, inadvertently causing a car crash between Ronnie, Mr. Meyer, and the man who stole Lola's moped. Manni manages to retrieve his money, trading it for his gun. Lola reaches the supermarket, but cannot find Manni. A car then pulls up containing Manni and Ronnie, who shake hands. Manni, no longer in need of the marks, asks Lola what is in the bag she is carrying, only for the film to end before a flash-forward.


  • Franka Potente as Lola
  • Moritz Bleibtreu as Manni
  • Herbert Knaup as Papa
  • Nina Petri as Frau Hansen
  • Armin Rohde as Herr Schuster
  • Joachim Król as Norbert von Au
  • Ludger Pistor as Herr Meier
  • Suzanne von Borsody as Frau Jäger
  • Sebastian Schipper as Mike
  • Julia Lindig as Doris
  • Lars Rudolph as Herr Kruse
  • Ute Lubosch as Mama
  • Monica Bleibtreu as the blind woman
  • Heino Ferch as Ronnie
  • Hans Paetsch as Narrator


The film features two allusions to Alfred Hitchcock's film Vertigo. Like that film, it features recurring images of spirals, such as the 'Spirale' Cafe behind Manni's phone box and the spiral staircase down which Lola runs. In addition, the painting on the back wall of the casino of a woman's head seen from behind is based on a shot in Vertigo: Tykwer disliked the empty space on the wall behind the roulette table and commissioned production designer Alexander Manasse to paint a picture of Kim Novak as she appeared in Vertigo. Manasse could not remember what she looked like in the film and so decided to paint the famous shot of the back of her head. The painting took fifteen minutes to complete.

There are also several references to German culture in the film. The most notable is the use of Hans Paetsch as a narrator. Paetsch is a famous voice of children's stories in Germany, recognized by millions. Many of the small parts are cameo roles by famous German actors (for example the bank teller). Also, two quotes by German football legend Sepp Herberger appear: "The ball is round, the game lasts 90 minutes, everything else is pure theory," and, "After the game is before the game."

The film touches on themes such as free will vs. determinism, the role of chance in people's destinies, and obscure cause-effect relationships. Through brief flash-forward sequences of still images, Lola's fleeting interactions with bystanders are revealed to have surprising and drastic effects on their future lives, serving as concise illustrations of chaos theory's butterfly effect, in which minor, seemingly inconsequential variations in any interaction can blossom into much wider results than is often recognized. The film's exploration of the relationship between chance and conscious intention comes to the foreground in the casino scene, where Lola appears to defy the laws of chance through sheer force of will, impossibly making the roulette ball land on her winning number with the help of a glass-shattering scream.

The thematic exploration of free will vs. determinism is made clear from the start. In the film's brief prologue, an unseen narrator asks a series of rhetorical questions that prime the audience to view the film through a metaphysical lens touching on traditional philosophical questions involving determinism vs. philosophic libertarianism, as well as epistemology. The theme is reinforced through the repeated appearance of blind women who briefly interact with major characters in each alternative reality (each "run"), and seem to have supernatural understandings of both the present and potential futures in those realities. The film ultimately seems to favor a compatiblist philosophical view to the free will question as evidenced by the casino scene and by the final telephone booth scene in which one of the blind women redirects Manni's attention to a passerby, which enables him to make an important choice near the film's climax.

Connections between the runs

Their resulting futures are then conveyed in a series of still frames. The futures are widely divergent from encounter to encounter. In one scenario, a woman whom Lola accidentally bumps into remains poor and kidnaps an unattended baby after her child was taken away by social workers. In another scenario the woman wins the lottery and becomes rich. In the third scenario, the woman experiences a religious conversion. The sound of the camera flash warming up is repeated a final time at the end of the film, when Lola smiles at Manni's question about what's in her bag.

Several moments in the film allude to a supernatural awareness of the characters. For example, in the first reality, a nervous Lola is shown by Manni how to use a gun by removing the safety, whereas she does this as if remembered from a previous experience in the second reality.


The soundtrack of the film, by Tykwer, Johnny Klimek, and Reinhold Heil, includes numerous musical quotations of the sustained string chords of The Unanswered Question, an early 20th-century chamber ensemble work by American composer Charles Ives. In the original work, the chords are meant to represent "the Silences of the Druids"?who Know, See and Hear Nothing."

The techno soundtrack established dialectical relation between motives of the movie: Rhythm, Repetition, and Interval among various spatio-temporal logics. This produces unification of contradictions like Time and Space or The cyclical and the linear.


Run Lola Run was filmed extensively in and around Berlin, Germany. Here are some of the locations:

  • Lola's apartment " The apartment block is located at 13-14 Albrechtstraße, Berlin-Mitte, near Friedrichstraße railway station.
  • U-Bahn (underground) train overpass " The location is on the north corner of Falckensteinstraße and Oberbaumstraße.
  • Bridge passageway " Oberbaumbrücke
  • U-Bahn station in the middle of the road " It is the south entrance of Französische Straße U-Bahn station. The entrance is actually located on Friedrichstraße. Lola appears from Jägerstraße, runs across the road and then around the corner in to Französische Straße. The actual path Lola takes differs from run to run.
  • The Nuns " North end of Mauerstraße.
  • Lola and the Cyclist " Further south of Mauerstraße. The cyclist appears from Französische Straße.
  • The corner of a building Lola runs around and encounters the Street Bum (Runs 1 & 2, no Bum in 3 though) - Corner of Ziegelstraße and Monbijoustraße.
  • Shop Underpassage " The shop underpassage that Lola runs in Run 1 is on corner of Charlottenstraße and Französische Straße.
  • Deutsche Transfer Bank " The bank is located at the corner of Behrenstraße and Hedwigskirchgasse, near the Opera. The actual location is Behrenstraße 37.
  • Square Tile Pattern Pavement " Gendarmenmarkt and the Konzerthaus.
  • The Supermarket " The supermarket is located at the south-west corner of the intersection of Osnabrücker Straße and Tauroggener Straße.
  • Lola runs in front of lorry " The corner of Hinter dem Gießhaus and Unter den Linden, in front of the Deutsches Historisches Museum.
  • The Casino " The exterior of the casino is located on Unter den Linden, facing the Deutsches Historisches Museum.
  • Lola gets shot " North end of Cuvrystraße.
  • Manni getting arrested " Deutsche Oper U-Bahn station.
  • Herr Meier coming out of his garage " The location is 23-24 Wallstraße.
  • The Ambulance and Glass " The intersection of Buchholzer Straße and Greifenhagener Straße. Lola and the ambulance start at the south end of the Greifenhagener Straße and travel North.
  • The 2 Cars and Scooter Crash " Intersection Hussitenstraße and Max-Ulrich-Straße.
  • Wishing Manni to wait " Shortly after Strausberger Platz, along Karl Marx Allee, running east. In the film the Fernsehturm is obscured by the trees.

Critical reception

The film was nominated for 41 awards, including the BAFTA Award for Best Film not in the English Language. It won 26. These included the Grand Prix of the Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics, the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, Best Film at the Seattle International Film Festival, and seven separate wins at the German Film Awards.

, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 93% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 80 reviews. On Metacritic, another review aggregator, the film had an average score of 77 out of 100, based on 29 reviews, stating the film as having "generally favourable reviews".

In contrasting reviews, Film Threats Chris Gore said of the film, "[It] delivers everything great foreign films should - action, sex, compelling characters, clever filmmaking, it's unpretentious (a requirement for me) and it has a story you can follow without having to read those annoying subtitles. I can't rave about this film enough -- this is passionate filmmaking at its best. One of the best foreign films, heck, one of the best films I have seen", while Jonathan Rosenbaum of The Chicago Reader stated, "About as entertaining as a no-brainer can be--a lot more fun, for my money, than a cornball theme-park ride like "Speed," and every bit as fast moving. But don't expect much of an aftertaste."

The film was released on DVD on 21 December 1999 and on Blu-ray on 19 February 2008.

  • Ranked #86 in Empire magazines "The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema" in 2010.

See also

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Run_Lola_Run" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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