Excerpts from an Imaginary Cinema Diary, 1876-Present
June 20, 1999 [Run Lola Run]
It was Vera's birthday today, and she wanted to see Run Lola Run. Maybe not the best instruction for a young woman--then again, Lola becomes a superhero, bending time and circumstance, the Flash with a shock of dayglo orange hair and a chin sticking out to meet the wind--all to save her man. The movie rearranges her and the world and says something about movies themselves that reminds me of the tagged-on ending of The Last Laugh, Murnau's arbitrary decision to reward the fallen hero--but in Run Lola Run it isn't so easy--sure, the Hand of the Director plucks her up and gives her another split-second reality to deal with; but it's Lola who darts around and decides--she does not sit passively in the depths of the washroom like Murnau's doorman, whose sudden good fortune seems to occur to a completely different person, a "character" in a "movie"--while Lola builds herself by herself, despite the shifts and fickle space she finds herself in, despite the world that refuses not only to sit still but also to help at any turn--unless she turns, zigs instead of zags, and streams along without hesitation or a clear plan--but a series of improvisations, each one making me admire her, even though she may fail--but who cares, what does it matter?--because she keeps running--like our old pal Sisyphus, heroic not because he makes the rock stand still on the summit but because he confronts it once more down below. In Goodfellas, Joe Pesci's character and his mother tell a story about a guy who sits quietly and knows he's a jerk--and he doesn't care who else knows, he's content. This is Lola, the pawn of circumstance--except in perpetual motion, teaching us how to wind up hope like it's an out-of-control toy too busy to shrug and surrender.