Picture this is how you start your school day: You wake up, you get dressed, you have breakfast. You're packing your bag when the bus comes. You go to grab your shoes but they are not were you left them. You search everywhere and still can't find them. Your dad moved them the day before when he was vacuuming the carpet. You yell at him that you missed the bus. He drives you to school. The end.
But what if the bus crashed on the way to school? You'd love your dad then right? If he didn't move your shoes, then you'd be a goner. But maybe...maybe he's only vacuuming because your brother or sister tracked dirt through the house. And maybe they only got dirt on their shoes because they were stuck outside when you forgot your key to the front door. And maybe you forgot your key to the front door because you left it in your science notebook. And maybe you didn't take home your science notebook because your teacher moved the test back until next week, and you didn't need to study. And maybe they moved the test back because...
This could go on and on and on...
Have you ever heard of the butterfly effect? The butterfly effect relates to chaos theory, and is the dependency on a set of conditions where a small change to those conditions will disrupt the very being of their existence. This is a very common trope in science-fiction films involving time travel. If you go back to the past, anything you change could alter the future. We've heard that before I'm sure. This film tells a simple story which takes this concept to the extreme, all while keeping you on the edge of your seat.
I said things were going to get a little weird for my next selection, and this will be a nice change of pace from previous films. Remember, the idea is to get exposure to things that you normally wouldn't watch, and to learn as much as you can from those films. A common trend among filmmakers is that they spent a lot of their time as children and students watching as many movies as possible. I bet this one makes their list.
Run Lola Run (Lola Rennt)
Director: Tom Tykwer
Written by: Tom Tykwer
Staring: Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu
Released: August 20th 1998 (Germany)
June 18th 1998 (USA)
The first you'll notice is that as soon as Lola leaves her apartment, the scene becomes animated. Just for a minute or so as she runs down the stairs, and leaves her building. Odd choice but it works. It disrupts your notion of normalcy, and prepares you for anything. In fact there is a nice mix of media here. One scene is animated. The scenes with Lola and Manni are shot on film. And scenes with anybody other than Lola and Manni were shot on tape. So each scene has it's own feel based on the method in which it was shot. Here, the director was trying to isolate Lola and Manni in their own universe, where outsiders had their own artificial universe. A very forward way of thinking back then, as the industry has shifted and rarely (minus a few exceptions) uses film anymore.
I could go on and on. Color is everywhere. Red being the dominant one as there is red in almost every shot, and excluding her hair even, almost ALL the shots with Lola in them. Yellow follows Manni, in the phone both, the store he wants to rob, even his hair has a yellowish blondish streak in it. Then the music. The music is literally the pulse. A steady beat of techno, and drum and bass that play constantly, and keep the film moving. It's only jarring when it stops, and it only does so for brief intimate moments.
This film may be a bit harder to find, so I'll happily lend out my copy if anybody is interested. That being said, if you want a real tense suspense film. This is it. The story is simple but the execution is unique and well done. It's a film that doesn't lay it all out right in the beginning. You need to watch to understand. It's a smarter ride, and one that you won't regret if you buy a ticket.
It's Mr. Leonard. Teacher, Videomaker, Professional Goofball