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Lola's Running on Video
"Run Lola Run" in German
on DVD and VHS Video

"Lola rennt" for German-Learners
With Film Worksheets and "Lola" Links

Lola runs
Lola (Franka Potente) runs
through the streets of Berlin.

Foto: Bernd Spauke/Sony Pictures

I like this movie simply as a movie. It's fun and entertaining, and one of the first movies to come out of Germany in many years that truly appeals to American cinematic tastes (i.e., isn't dark, dour, and depressing—and plays well to an audience under the age of 30). It's difficult to find a movie review out there that doesn't praise this film in some way. (The few negative reviews were mostly from German critics, but many of them also praised certain aspects of the film.) I myself praised it in "Lola's Running" when the film was first showing in cinemas across North America. Not since "Das Boot" has a German movie had so much success abroad. In December 1999 "Lola" began its second American run, this time on DVD and video in the NTSC video format – in German with English subtitles. (Avoid the VHS English-dubbed version like the plague! Get the wonderful DVD version! Compare Prices)

"Jeden Tag, jede Sekunde triffst du eine Entscheidung, die dein Leben verändern kann."
   - From the German trailer for "Lola rennt"
Franka Goes
To Hollywood
"Run Lola Run" star Franka Potente made her Hollywood debut in "Blow" (2001). Potente plays Barbara, a German stewardess who gets involved with the film's main character, George Jung (Johnny Depp). Unfortunately, Potente's character dies in the first half of the movie.

Potente recently co-starred in another Hollywood picture with Matt Damon. "The Bourne Identity" was filmed in Paris, Prague and other locations. It was released in the U.S. in June 2002. She also appears in the 2004 sequel, "The Bourne Supremacy."
The German in "Lola"
"Run Lola Run" is not a perfect movie. It has its flaws. But it is great entertainment and in many ways, "Lola rennt" (1998) is ideal for language learners. Anyone learning German will enjoy the challenge of trying to catch the fast and very contemporary German used in the film. With the aid of the English subtitles, the careful listener will even be able to pick out the slang words that the characters use for "cigarettes" ("Kippen" = cigs) and other everyday terms.

As I mentioned in my earlier review, director Tom Tykwer is a fan of repetition—both visual and aural. In the film's first few minutes we hear the words "die Tasche" repeated in staccato fashion as Lola's boyfriend Manni (Moritz Bleibtreu) recounts how he stupidly left a plastic bag containing 100,000 marks on the seat of a Berlin U-Bahn (subway) car. In the accompanying flashback scenes we see a bum's shocked expression as he discovers his amazing find. "Die Tasche. Die Tasche. Die Tasche." Later in the film we see this same derelict (Penner) in various situations as his fate intersects with that of Lola and Manni—each time in a slightly different way.

Tykwer's use of "Groundhog Day" repetitiveness, with its three parallel realities, often gives us a second and sometimes even a third chance to hear certain lines in the movie. But there are also subtle variations and surprises in this fast-paced film that keep any repetition from becoming boring. Then there is the pulsating techno soundtrack music (also by Tykwer & Co.) to keep your toes tapping.

A bonus reason to buy the soundtrack CD: snippets of German dialog from the film in addition to, or with, the music. For instance, the CD includes the film's opening philosophical monolog (reminiscent of Kurt Tucholsky's "Der Mensch"): "Der Mensch. Die wohl geheimnisvollste Spezies unseres Planeten..."

On the next page we take a closer look at some of the language aspects of this entertaining film. From numbers to idioms to geography, "Lola rennt" offers a great opportunity for learners of German to work on their listening skills.

NEXT > Eins, zwei, drei > Page 1, 2, Locations, Exercises

ALSO SEE > German Movie Guide

Related Pages

Compare prices and order the DVD version of the film in German with English subtitles. Region 1 (US and Canada).

Compare prices and order the VHS version of the film in German with English subtitles. NTSC (US and Canada)

Compare prices and order the great original soundtrack from "Run Lola Run."

Top German DVDs and Videos
Your Guide's ranked selection of the top ten German films on DVD or video.

Top German Music CDs
Your Guide picks his personal choices for German music on CD.

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