A little while back I had two posts in a row inspired by French cinema. Well, I’m been at the continental films again, but this time it’s a German one. Lola Rennt, released in English as Run Lola Run, is one of the few German films I’ve watched and I love it. Another great thing about it is the opening sequence, which lists out all the names of the characters and the actors – albeit very quickly.
The premise of the film is a near impossbily task: Lola has to find 100,000 deutschmarks in 20 minutes for her boyfriend, Manni, who left a bag full of the original money on a tube train and then a tramp ran off with it. If he doesn’t get the money to bossman Ronnie by noon, he’s in trouble (it’s heavily implied that Ronnie will kill him, but this is relayed to the audience by a hysterical Manni). If you think it may be difficult to elongate a twenty-minute scenario into a film-worthy length, let it be known that the scenario is played out three times, each with wildly different outcomes. The cause of the changes is a youth and his dog on the staircase Lola initially runs down at the start of her sprint from her flat. In the first case the dog growls at her and she speeds up to run past him; in the second case the youth trips her up causing her to leave a few seconds later; in the third case she jumps over the youth/dog combo and thus leaves a few seconds earlier.
The main character of Lola is played by a lady named Franka and her boyfriend Manni is played by a Moritz. The name Lola is the Spanish short-form of Dolores, and is also a Spanish slang word for little girl. Either way, an immediate thought when hearing the name Lola is of the infamous Nabokov novel Lolita.
As for the actress, I’m pretty sure she is just Franka, not Francesca. It rather reminds me of the German name Frauke, which derives from the German word frau, which means female, or indeed Ms, as in, Ms. Smith/ Frau Smith; it doesn’t indicate marital status. Franke is a legit alternative way to spell Frank, and Francis from which many get the name Frank means Frenchman.
Whilst watching it, the name Manni constantly reminded me of the German word for a mobile phone: Mein Handy. It is never touched upon as to whether Manni is his name, or simply a nickname. What’s worth mentioning here is that there is a Norse God of the Moon named Máni, and an Indian male name Mani, which comes from Sanskrit and means jewel. Either way, I’m more likely to lean towards the idea that Manni is short for Manfred, which is an Old German name meaning peaceful man. Of course, Manni could also be short for a name such as Norman, Sherman etc.
Jutta is the mistress of Lola’s father, and in the first two scenarios she bursts in on them whilst they are discussing Jutta’s pregnancy. In the first scenario, Lola’s father is led to believe that the baby is his, whilst it is revealed in the second, thanks to Lola running late, that the baby isn’t actually his. This plays a key role in the dynamics of the characters, and indeed how Lola and her father interact once she arrives on the scene to ask for money from him.
The name Jutta is the German form of the name Judith. It’s a biblical name which means Jewish woman. There is a Book of Judith in the Bible which tells of a female named Judith who spends the night with a disliked man by the name of Holofernes. She then kills him, and using his death to inspire the Israelite troops to victory.