||WEB LINKS||SAMPLE PAPERS|
ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY since we do film reviews in class
SPRING 2001 DUE DATES
Peter Fraser: Images of the Passion: The Sacramental Mode in Film
David A. Cook: A History of Narrative Film
READ for Thursday Jan 18 - A History of Narrative Film, Eisenstein and the Battleship Potemkin, pp. 140-173 Discussion of the film Tuesday, January 23
WEDNESDAY Jan. 24 BY 12:00 NOON Film clip (commercial, signature piece, trailer, etc.) and argument. This will be discussed the following day in class. Work in teams of two. You and your partner need to see the clips together and you must explain to your partner your ideas of what makes the clip effective. You write up your partner's ideas, and he/she writes up yours in a half page. Hand in both with your film clips. Thursday, January 25 discussion of film clips.
February 6 First Film Critique/Review (you must include published film review) Select a film and find a quality review (not anonymous internet); but at least a major newspaper or journal. Ideally find a serious film journal, such as Film Quarterly which is in the Holy Cross Library. Hand in a copy of the review with your paper. In 3-4 pages, address the issues raised in the review, paying special attention to the critique of visual issues. In at least half of your paper, address visual aspects of the film (however, or not, they appear in the review).
Feb. 7 Tigerland KIMBALL THEATRE 3 PM and 8 PM (cancelled)
MONDAY FEBRUARY 26 BY NOON One Page Statement defining your final project . See general directions and past final projects listed at the end of the Website for inspiration. Paper about 20 pages. Discussion of projects Tuesday, Feb 27.
March 14 Not One Less KIMBALL THEATRE 3 PM and 8 PM (film reaction sheet)
MARCH 20 Most Memorable Moment in Movies paper 3-4 pages
March 21 Color of Paradise KIMBALL THEATRE 3 PM and 8 PM (film reaction sheet)
March 29 Second Film Critique/Review subject must be a film relating to your final project and UPDATE OF FINAL PROJECT DUE Bibliography: 8 references (4 articles, 4 books)
March 29 7PM Stein 102 Hidden Warriors: Women on the Ho Chi Minh Trail documentary by Karen Turner and Phan Thanh Hao edited by John Buckingham, 2000, 50 minutes, discussion by Karen Turner (History). Oral histories and archival material bring to life the story of the youth volunteers who worked on the Ho Chi Minh Trail after 1965 and their treatment by the post-war Vietnamese state. Special attention is paid to the unique dilemmas faced by Vietnam's modern women warriors. (film reaction sheet)
April 18 Traffic KIMBALL THEATRE 3 PM and 8 PM (film reaction sheet)
April 24 FINAL PROJECT DUE (ABSOLUTELY NO EXTENSIONS)
May 1 (First Day of Study Period) Critique of your partner's project due. (ABSOLUTELY NO EXTENSIONS)
AND Do try to see ALL the Wednesday films at Kimball!
Text: David A Cook, A History of Narrative Film, 1996
Jan. 19 Discussion of Visual Imagery and Narrative form; film clips. Reading the poem and reading the image 15th-century Adoration of the Magi. Pier Paolo Pasolini, The Gospel According to Matthew, Italian, 1964. Clip of Massacre of the Innocents. James Cameron 1991 Terminator 2: Judgment Day opening sequence; Stephen Spielberg ET: The Extra Terrestrial 1982 opening sequence.
Jan. 21 Eisenstein: The Battleship Potemkin, Russian, 1925
(Silent with English sound boards)
Jan. 26 Discussion of Potemkin and Short Cuts:
ARIA 1988 "Our Lady of the Angels" from Verdi's opera La Forza del Destino, directed by Charles Sturrage. Comparison of Sturrage's shots to technique of illumination used by Georges de la Tour (French 17th-century) light from shielded candle or lantern: e.g. The Repentant Magdalene or Joseph and Christ Child. or Carvavaggio (early 17th century) e.g. Mocking of Christ. Ambiguity deliberate. Three school children in North London in church, watching TV, wandering streets, and stealing car. But is this what really happened or what may happen? Does Our Lady of the Angels "wrap them in her protective cloak?"
“Depuis le Jour” by Charpentier directed by Derick Jarmann. Old woman on stage before an empty house, beautiful, smiling, thinking back to youth and love. Comparison of filmic techniques to brilliant color, hazy focus, and off-center subjects in the paintings by Edgar Degas (French 19th century) of women washing, the racetrack, and the ballet.
Jan. 28 Blade Runner, Ridley Scott, American, 1982 (1990 Director’s Cut).
Feb. 2 Lecture with selected cuts from Blade Runner: opening sequence and Zora's pursuit and death. Analysis of film as a post modern work of art, deliberately outside of time of place and mixing incongruous, impossible elements to establish its own presence. The architectural styles of Egypt, Pre-Columbian America, Renaissance, and Modern coincide.
Feb. 4: Visions of Light PBS documentary on cinematography and discussion led by Tommy Upshaw
BUS TRIP TO NEW YORK SATURDAY FEBRUARY 6
Feb. 9 The Bicycle Thief by Vitorio De Sica 1946 (Italian)
Feb. 11 Do the Right Thing by Spike Lee, 1989 (American)
Feb. 16 Discussion of Realism as Technique and Realism as Effect with Lee and De Sica
Outside of Class: Film: Coming Home, 1978, by Hal Ashby,
Feb. 18 Prof. Jerry Lembcke, Dept. of Sociology speaks on the film, Coming Home, 1978 directed by Hal Ashby, and staring Jane Fonda, Jon Voight, and Bruce Dern. He will address the themes in his recently published book, The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam, New York University Press, 1998
Feb. 23 Short Cuts: Short discussion after each one about the techniques
Bizet's Carmen, 1984, Francesco Rosi, from credits through end of overture: discussion of bull as metaphor for deaths of Carmen and Don Jose. Overtures allow director to visually as well as musically introduce the major themes.
M, by Fritz Lang, 1930: 15 minute segment shown of child killer recognized by his whistling. Triumph of the Will by Leni Reifenstahl, 1935: opening 10 minutes.
Feb. 25 BRIAN HELLER ’68, CINEMATOGRAPHER FOR FILM AND TELEVISION
TALKS ABOUT HIS WORK Including Good Will Hunting, Dumb and Dumber, Home Before Dark,
Devil’s Advocate, G.I. Jane, Die Hard with a Vengeance, The David Letterman Show, and The Bob Newhart Show
March 2 One Page Statement on your final project. Orsen Wells, Citizen Kane, 1941
March 4 Discussion of Citizen Kane
SPRING BREAK March 6- March 14
March 16 BEGINNING OF SEGMENT ON DOCUMENTARIES: Zelig, 1983, Woody Allen (American)
March 18 2-3 page paper Most Memorable Moment in Movies
Little Girls Spike Lee, 1997
cinematographer Ellen Kuras works with Spike Lee. Ms Kuras filed Unzipped, Postcards from America, and I Shot Andy Warhol. See "Honoring the Memory of 4 Little Girls" published in American Cinematographer, January 1998.
March 23 Discussion of Zelig and 4 Little Girls and structure of Documentaries
March 24 Evening Kimball Theater Elizabeth
March 25 Unzipped (Isaac Mizrahi documentary by Douglas Keeve, American 1996) and discussion
March 30 Second Critique of a Film Review (portion of final project)
Film 30 The Wonderful Horrible Life of Leni Reifenstahl by Ray Muller, 1993 (Germany)
EASTER RECESS THURSDAY April 1 - April 5
April 6: Desperately Seeking Susan, Susan Seidelman, American, 1986. Hand-out of several pages of "Desperately Seeking Difference" by Jackie Stacy, from The Female Gaze (1989) eds. L. Gamman and M. Marshment.
April 8: Guest lecture by Sarah Stanbury, Department of English. Introduction to feminist analysis of "the gaze" as elaborated from Freudian principle of personality development. Discussion of feminist writings and film with six students who have been reading feminist criticism for their term projects. Laura Mulvey, "Visual Pleasure and the Narrative Cinema," (1974) in Philip Rosen, ed. Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology: A Film Theory Reader (New York, 1986)].
April 13 Narrative/Documentary: Tragedy at Tianamen: The Untold Story ABC News/1991 Ted Koppel probes the event behind the June 1989 shootings in Beijing (43 minutes) Study of documentary. How is this the same or different from a film like Do The Right Thing, by Spike Lee, which presents an urban riot. The Los Angeles riot after the Rodney King affair was also carried on TV. UPDATE OF FINAL PROJECT DUE
April 15: Narrative/Documentary: Installation artist Christo's projects. Christo's Islands 1986 American. Art is here defined as process as much as product. Hour documentary of Christ's wrapping of ten Islands in the Bay of Biscane off Miami, along with references to the proposed wrapping of the Pont Neuf, Paris, and the Reichstag, Berlin. The film narrates the project with cuts from the visual impression of the work to the discussions, meetings, interviews, etc of the people putting the project. Christo has just received permission from the German government to wrap the Reichstag, Berlin. He already did the Pont Neuf, Paris.
April 20: Selections from Dreams, Director Akiro Kurosawa, 1990 Japanese: "Peach Orchard" and "Blizzard". Lecture/Discussion after viewing to discuss structure of aural and visual narrative. Stress by faculty that these issues would be essential for term projects.
April 22: Discussion of Individual Student Projects
April 27: STUDENT PROJECTS DUE Projects must be handed in on time or receive a lower grade. You must make two copies. One copy will go to a student reader. View film Notorious, staring Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, and Claude Rains, Director Alfred Hitchcock, 1946
April 29: Class cancelled. Faculty member organizing International Seminar on Stained Glass of the 19th and early 20th centuries at the meeting of the Society for Architectural Historians, Philadelphia
MONDAY MAY 2 5:00-6:30PM PIZZA AND PAPERS: SELECTED STUDENT PRESENTATIONS IN ART HISTORY DEPARTMENT FUNCTION OPEN TO ALL
May 4: Kimball Cards Cancelled and lunch provided in class. Course
Finale: "Meet the Beast" - short selections to ring in exam week. Beauty
and the Beast by Jean Cocteau, Beauty leaves her home and enters the
Beast's Castle; Beast begs Beauty not to look into his eyes; Alexander
Nevsky by Sergei Eisenstein, The Russians meet the Teutonic Knights;
Monty Python's Holy Grail, Arthur meets the Knight guarding the
path; Rocky, Rocky trains for the fight by using hanging beef
as sparing partner; The Blues Brothers, Jake and Elroy meet
the police in the mall; Ghost Busters, the team meets the
Staypuff Marshmallo Man.
WRITTEN CRITIQUES OF PARTNER'S PROJECT DUE
Study Period begins May 4 (Final Projects returned to seniors before graduation; returned to other classes via Campus Mail in fall)
NARRATIVE IN ART AND FILM
Virginia C. Raguin
FINAL PROJECT 2001
You should begin very early thinking about what topics interest you. A one-page statement of your final project (which will be about 20 pages) is due Feb 26. You should look at the films mentioned in your text and concentrate on them. This still gives you an extremely broad choice. The films you select should allow you to write about visual issues with clarity. Many films do not. I will review your proposals with Tommy Upshaw and we will then be able to suggest books, other films, reviews, and directions to help your work.
You will be expected to develop a clear thesis, that is, a point of view. The possibilities are many. In the past, students have written highly engaging papers, many far more interesting than many published reviews I have read. [We should be honest and say that most reviews are far too short to really get into anything interesting.] As with anything, think about you strengths as a college student and as a citizen of life. That, is think of how you have analyzed literature, poetry, music, visual arts, or dance. How have you evaluated a film’s honesty and ability to address important issues? You certainly said many things in the discussion of “Do the Right Thing” and “The Bicycle Thief.” I mention here just a few possibilities and I expect that you will talk to me about your topics.
Different treatments of the same theme.
Childhood and coming of age seen in My Life as a Dog and The 400 Blows
World War II and Hitler seen by Schindler's List and Triumph of the Will
Different films on the Vietnam War (see Jerry Lembke’s The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam, New York University Press, 1998
Two version of a Dracula theme, or other kinds of remakes
Changes from verbal to visual narrative: novels, short stories or plays
made into films.
Kenneth Branagh's Henry V or Much Ado About Nothing
Lawrence Olivier's Henry V
Jane Austin: Pride and Prejudice
Edith Wharton: Age of Innocence or The Children
Sources of the visual imagery [this can be previous works of painting
and sculpture or other films]
Therese and the art of the still life and portrait, especially Philippe de Champaigne, Chardin, Vermeer.
Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast, Vermeer and other painter's of Dutch interiors
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and German Expressionist Art
Coppola's Dracula and late 19th-century erotic Art, especially Klimt.
D.W. Griffith's Intolerance and 19th century art of James Tissot and other academic painters.
Jacob's Ladder and illustrations to Dante's Divine Comedy by Gustav Dore.
Room with a View and 19th-century landscape, especially Corot and Monet, or the same film's use of the Renaissance architecture of Florence.
Star Wars structure of citations from "old chestnuts" of American film memory, Gunfight at the OK Corral, God is My Co-Pilot, Sink the Bismarck, or other generic American western or war genre classic.
Your paper will be in sections: 1) thesis statement, 2) argument, 3) plot summaries, 4) explantory material -different according to each paper, 5) illustrations, 6) annotated bibliography
BODY OF PAPER Typed: Double spaced
Project Summary: Half page thesis statement. (invariably this will be revised many times)
Argument: The body of your paper should be at least twelve WELL WRITTEN, WELL PROOFED pages; Within these twelve pages (or more) you need to refer to other sources of opinion. This means that you need to use film reviews, books, other films, essays on film as a medium, books on art history, works of art such as paintings or photographs, novels, poems, etc. Your topic will determine your references, but it is essential that you cite other opinions. Use a standard footnote or endnote style If you are accustomed to using parenthesis with the author and page, this will also be acceptable. YOU MUST CITE RESEARCH, however. The point of the research is to allow you to be able to put your opinions of the subject in context. You many disagree with any or all, but you have to demonstrate that you sought out other opinion. As you know, you must in a significant way, address the visual structure of the film within your arguement. Be careful to give yourself enough time to write and restructure. See me with any questions and advice as your project progresses.
Explanatory material: (probably at least 8-10 pages)
Film Overviews: Vital statistics (title, director, year, country, actors/roles
and a plot summary of the major film(s)
you are addressing.
If you are taking an historic topic: you will probably find that a summary of the historic moment is needed
If you are analyzing a director: a chronological overview of his or her career is needed
Illustrations: Title, artist, date
Bibliography: (minimum 8 citations) Author, Last and First Names, Title,
Publisher Place of Publication,
3-4 sentences describing the book, review, or article, from your point of view.
You must bring TWO copies to the class - one copy for the instructor, the other for your reader. Critiques of the projects due May 1. You will have directions about how to write a critique.
FILM ADAPTATION OF LITERARY WORKS
Creating the Past: The Art of Making The Age of Innocence (Martin Scorsese, 1993; Edith Wharton 1920) and Ethan Frome (John Madden, 1993; Edith Wharton 1911)
The Age of Innocence (Martin Scorsese, 1993; Edith Wharton 1920): A Novel and A Film
Henry V: Olivier (1944) versus Branagh (1989)
A Sociological Account of Welcome to the Dollhouse (Todd Solondz, 1996)
Pedro Almodovar, & His Portrayal of the Dominant Woman: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown 1988, Tie Me Up Tie Me Down 1990, and The Flower of My Secret 1996
Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1990): The Humanity of It
An Exploration of Sibling Relationships on Film: Brothers Versus Sisters The Brothers McMullen (Edward Burns, 1995) Sense and Sensibility (Ang Lee, 1996 after Jane Austen)
The Power of Religious Horror Films: Carrie Brian DePalma, 1976; The Omen Richard Donner, 1976 Seven David Fincher, 1995, The Exorcist William Friedkin, 1973
Black Males and Violence New Jack City and Menace II Society (Allen and Albert Hughes 1993)
The Portrayal of Gangs in Film (Gay and Straight): Boyz in the Hood (John Singleton, 1991) and Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingston, 1991)
Are Disney Movies Sending Powerful Negative Messages about Gender to our Children?
The Confining Duties of Women Structured by Society as Seen Through the Films Sense and Sensibility (Ang Lee, 1996 after Jane Austen) and Clueless (Amy Heckerling, 1995 after Jane Austen)
The Dynamics of the Individual vs. the Dynamics of the Group: Wish You Were Here
The Tragic Complexities of the Vietnam War as Portrayed in Oliver Stone’s Platoon (1986)
Grand Illusion 1937 and The Rules of the Game 1939: The Social Commentary and Visual Techniques of Jean Renoir
Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996): A Real Life Look at Drugs Through a Surrealist Lens
Puppets Dancing on a String: Imagery of Power in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather 1962
The Piano (Jane Campion 1994) as a Modern-day Version of a Silent Film (Griffith, Intolerance, 1916)
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (Vittorio DeSica 1970): Voyeurism and the Look of Seduction
Blue Velvet, David Lynch
Unzipped (Isaac Mizrahi documentary by Douglas Keeve, 1996) Seeing Through the Eyes of the Director
Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994) and Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino, 1991) A Visual Analysis
The Epic and the Individual: The Birth of a Nation (D. W. Griffith 1915), Intolerance (D. W. Griffith 1915); Gone with the Wind (Victor Flemming, 1939)
Sexuality, Sadomasochism and other Details Not Discussed in Cape Fear (1962): (J. Lee Thompson, 1962 and remake by Martin Scorsese 1991)
Martin Scorsese’s Career as Director: Mean Streets 1973; Taxi Driver 1976, Raging Bull 1980; Goodfellas 1990 Casino 1995
Food Movies: The Connection between Food, Religion, Art, and Life: Babette’s Feast (Gabriel Axel, 1987); The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover (Peter Greenaway, 1987); Eat Drink Man Woman (Ang Lee, 1994); Like Water for Chocolate (Alfonsaso Aeau, 1992); Tampopo (Juzo Itami, 1986)
Dracula: The Fear of Invasion in the 19th and 20th Centuries: art of George Hicks, J.M. Whistler, Frederic Leighton and James Collinson, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Coppola, 1992)
Surrealism and Pop Art Portrayed in Film: Un Chien Andalou (Bunuel & Dali, 1928); Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodovar, 1988), Andre Masson, Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali.
Sally Potter’s Orlando (1993 after the story by Virginia Woolf, 1928); A Visual Journey Through Art History (Whistler, Manet, Longhi, Massaccio, Brockhurst, Christo)
Dick Tracy (Warren Beatty, 1990) and the Paintings of Henri Matisse: A comparison of the Use of Color and its Effects
NARRATIVE IN ART AND FILM
Topics of 1995 Papers
(Many of the topics overlap categories)
Tootsie and Mrs Doubtfire (Chris Columbus, 1992) and gender roles
Women in "Garbo" films Ninotchka (Ernst Lubitsch, 1939) and Grand Hotel (Edmund Goulding, 1932)
Varied Faces of the Female: Images of Women in Film, Garbo in Ninotchka (Ernst Lubitsch, 1939) Marilyn Monroe in Bus Stop (Joshua Logan, 1956), and Rita Hayworth in Separate Tables (Delbert Mann, 1958)
My Brilliant Career (Gillian Armstrong, 1979)
Comparison of Glory (Edward Zwick, 1989) and Birth of A Nation (D. W. Griffith, 1915: after the novel The Clansman)
Dehumanization and Depersonalization in Apocalypse Now and Dr. Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
Triumph of the Will Leni Riefenstahl, 1936) and Schindler's List (Spielberg, 1993): Images constructing the individual or the group
The Education of the Holocaust Through Fims: Schindler's List
Romero (John Duigan, 1989) The Biographic Film
The Mockery of War, Religion and the Army in M*A*S*H (Robert Altman, 1970)
FILM ADAPTATION OF LITERARY WORKS
Comparison of Pasolini's Gospel According to Matthew and Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ and Gospel text
Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979) and comparison to Joseph Conrad's novel, Heart of Darkness
John Huston's version of James Joyce's story: The Dead (1989)
A River Runs Through It (Robert Redford, 1993) and book
Lawrence Olivier's Henry V, Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing
Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931) and the Influence of Gothic Literary Techniques on Film
Orlando (1928) by Virginia Woolf and the film Orlando (Sally Potter, 1994)
Sid and Nancy (Alex Cox, 1986) and True Romance (Tony Scott, 1993)
Badlands (Malik), Natural Born Killers (Stone), Clockwork Orange (Kubrick)
A Comparative Study of Evil in M (Lang), The Third Man (Reed), and The Conformist (Bertolucci)
Grease (Randall Kleiser, 1978)
The Coming of Age in American Graffiti (Francis Ford Coppola, 1973), Saturday Night Fever (John Badham, 1977), and Reality Bites (Ben Stiuller, 1994)
Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingston, 1990)
Like Water For Chocolate (Alfonso Arau, 1991) and Babette's Feast (Gabriel Axel, 1987): Food and Service
COMPARISON OF PAINTING AND SCULPTURE AND FILM
Pedro Almodovar, Artistic Expressions Transcending All Bounderies
Tie Me Up! Tie me Down! Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
The Influence and Use of Pop Art in the Films of Pedro Almodovar
Planet of the Apes (Leon Shamroy, 1967), The Terminator (John Cameron, 1984), Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1926), The Time Machine (1960) and Hellenistic sculpture: concerning the use of the sub and superhuman in Science Fiction
The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993) compared to the Sexual and Personal Imagery of Edvard Munch
The Piano 's Visual Imagery to Portray non-Traditional Gender Roles (paintings of Gulio Romano and Rubens)
Surreal Tango in Paris: An Analysis of Surrealist Elements in The Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1973)
Surrealism in Un Chien Andalou (Dali and Bunuel) and Jacob's Ladder
Beauty and the Beast use of the Art of Surrealism, Rubens and Vermeer (Jean Cocteau 1946)
Batman Returns (Tim Burton, 1992) and The Crow (Alex Proyas, 1994) and Gothic Imagery :
Batman Returns (Tim Burton, 1992) and the Narrative Structure of the Comic Books
Bram Stoker's Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola, 1992) and its Use of 19th-century Erotic Art of Klimt and Moreau
The Use of 'Place" in Film (Imagery of filmakers Woody Allen and Robert Redford and photography of Ansel Adams, Berenice Abbott, and Andre Kertesz)
The Role of the Film in Installation Art (Christo)
The Video Art of Bill Viola (installation art on the theme of St. John of the Cross, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)
Luchino Visconti's The Leopard 1962 and the "Macchiaioli" (Italian landscape painters)
Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973) and Caravaggio's Art: Empthy through Visual Imagery.
Ban the Colorization of Movies? The Debate Continues (It's a Wonderful Life, 1946)
The Collision of Fact and Fiction in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Steven Spielberg, 1989)
Star Wars (George Lukas, 1977) as a Modern Fairy Tale
| In Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt
in German) time is of the essence. When every second counts the clock is
ticking; Lola’s will has the determination to make it. T.S. Elliot
says, “the only thing that concerns at the moment is the second.”
With that concentration on time, Run Lola Run is a fast paced film
with high intense energy that questions what Lola’s outcome will be. Time
is a game and Lola is in a race against time, how many chances does the
clock allow Lola to make?
Run Lola Run is about a woman, Lola, who has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks to save her boyfriend’s life. Lola gets three chances to save Manni, but different situations and different outcomes occur with each chance. In round one she asks her father for the money, but he will not give it to her. So she and Manni rob the supermarket but get caught and Lola is shot. In round two she holds her father at gunpoint and robs the money from him. As she runs to catch Manni, he gets ran over by the red ambulance. In round three she misses her father completely and wins the money at the casino, but will she make to Manni in time?
Tom Whalen writes a film review on Run Lola Run from Film Quarterly in the spring 2000 issue. Whalen breaks down the film into categories of the principle parts of the film. Then he summarizes what the story line is and what happens in each category: The Game, Time, The Dialectic, Love Story, and Fairy Tale. In each he poses interesting questions to the film and explains the visual imagery that the camera portrays in the film.
Whalen explains the visual aspects of the film and how they contribute to the idea of the game. In the beginning sequences it is very much a game as the pendulum of the clock swings back and forth wavering chance. The camera tilts upward as we are swallowed into the clock, then we are zooming around figures in a circular motion. The circular motion stops upon the characters in the film. Then we come upon the policemen, holding a soccer ball. He comments that the “Ball is round, game last 90 minutes that much is clear. Everything else is theory”. And then as he says, “Go.”, kicking the ball high in the sky and the camera soars up with it, while below the figures form Lola Rennt, the game begins. I agree with Whalen that Run Lola Run is seen very much a game. She is getting as many chances as she wants to make the right move. As Whalen says, “games can also be played again; if you lose one game you can always try again. So why not give Lola a second chance or a third”?
Time is seen throughout the film as in the images of clocks. The clocks are presented in the first scene with the pendulum swinging and ticking, then to the clock that swallows us, to the three animated clocks that Lola travels through, and finally to the clock that Manni stares at to see if she will get there on time. As Whalen states in his review that “we can’t ignore Lola’s temporal prison”. Whalen points out that are many visual metaphors in film corresponding to the time issue that he brings up in his review. The overhead shots like the plaza that Lola runs across in round one, which in turn is a fountain that is in the image of a clock. In round two when Manni is run over by the ambulance, his arms and legs are splayed out likes hands on a clock. She can actually stop time momentarily by her screaming. By screaming in her father’s office she causes the clock on the wall to shatter. In the third round changing the ball’s direction to hit 20 at the roulette table. Time is a major factor for Lola, however little she has.
Tom Whalen sees the dialectic in Run Lola Run as a visual display of circular and spiral elements. The circular motion of the camera reflects the motion of the clocks. In Run Lola Run time is not always conduced to circles, it is the form of spirals. When the camera cuts from the real world of Lola to the animated world inside the TV is when we see the spiral staircase. Just before that, the camera is in a spiral around Lola’s mother talking on the phone. “Time for Lola (and for us) is not circular, but dialectically spiral”. In each round Lola encounters her father, Herr Meier, the bad tempered woman, the bum, and the bicycler. Especially with the bad-tempered woman and the bicycler we see a flash-forward of different outcomes of their lives; these flash-forwards are still frames which are accompanied by shutter clicks of the camera. For example, in the first round when Lola almost runs into the woman the woman yells “you slut!”, we see her future. She becomes a social welfare case, and loses her child. In round two, Lola almost runs into the woman and child then the woman yells “watch out you stupid cow!” The flash forward, this time is of her buying a lottery ticket and winning. In round three, Lola misses her completely, the bad-tempered woman then just brushes Lola off, and then we see her next encounter a Jehovah’s Witness. The woman ends up selling publications of the Jehovah Witnesses on the street. I feel the director Tykwer, may have wanted to express the meaning of having three chances, and which one will the better outcome for the characters.
Whalen comments on the visual enhancement that the dialectic provides. “The dialectic also generates much of the films visual multiplicity. Tyker’s use of the split screen exemplifies Run Lola Run’s dialectic strategy”. As the clock almost reaches 12:00, Manni is waiting for Lola, contemplating robbing the Bolle Supermarket. Lola is running to reach Manni with the 100,000 Deutschmarks. The camera at this point is in a split screen. Manni is in the left frame with Lola in the right frame and the clock in the bottom frame. With these split screens the camera gives us a simultaneous shot and reverse shot. Tom Tykwer states in an interview about the film, “a film about the possibilities of life, it was clear, needed to be a film about the possibilities of cinema as well. That’s why there are different formats in Run Lola Run; there is color and black white, slow motion and speed up motion, all elementary building blocks that have been used for ages in film history”(6).
Whalen sees the tangle between a love story and a fairy tale between Manni and Lola. Lola is the driving force of the relationship. We can see Lola running, as Manni is mostly stationary waiting for her to come save him. She is the princess that has to save the prince, Manni; the roles are reversed. The camera visually put Manni and Lola together by the split screens as well as in the life-death scenes in bed. They are also together by the cutting of the camera from Lola to Manni. “In an overhead shot, Lola in frame left runs diagonally up left across a square in a grid pattern with a fountain (circle/clock/wheel) frame right. Cut to: a low angle shot of Manni frame left in the phone both with its grid pattern and frame right the large spiral of the club Die Spirale”. So in others words the camera wants you to see Lola and Manni always together. I can see where Whalen came up with the love story, but to me Lola does not really want Manni. She is a pretty strong woman that has to save him because of his mistakes, their relationship is a strange one.
Another factor of this love story/fairy tale is the domineering color of red through out the movie. Red is everywhere from the ambulance that runs over Manni, the money bag, Lola’s phone, directional signs, the life and death scene shot with a red filter, and Lola’s hair. She is a pulsating heartbeat through the film. The red is the symbol of power as Lola runs through each scene. Then in end, she has the money to save Manni by winning at the casino. But as she is running, Manni finally sees the bum that has Ronnie’s money with the help of blind lady’s gaze. He then chases the bum down and gets his money and returns it to Ronnie, just as Lola is getting there. As they exchange a kiss, Manni asks what is in the bag. There is one more dialectical element as the credits role, Ende in red enters from frame right, and credits role from top down.
Run Lola Run is a very intense film with many film techniques of shooting. It is a film filled with animation, video, black, and white, jump cuts, slow motion, and fast montage. Whalen writes an excellent review captivating the story line and camera angle of Run Lola Run. Run Lola Run is about the number of possibilities in life as time is being extinguished