Filmic hyperlinks

Getting to know and classifying the possibilities of hyperlink technology for filmic narration

In all three runs Lola runs past a woman with a small child in a buggy. She first runs along a cemetery wall (Alter Garnisonsfriedhof 📍 in Berlin’s Mitte district) and then turns right, passing the woman with child. The story of the nameless woman is told three times, differently, in a few seconds using hyperlink technology.

Hyperlink technology is the term used to describe narrative detours in a film that reveal a wealth of information about a person or an event in a matter of seconds, comparable to the visual flash of a video clip. This procedure is similar to carrying out research on a computer, where information can be compiled in a flash by clicking on links. Unlike a subplot, however, such hyperlinks do not drive the main plot any further. These digressions are only very short and do not seriously distract the viewer from the main plot. It is just as if "the viewer can click on the individual characters to obtain more detailed information about them".

Source: Jean-Luc Froidevaux, after Klant/Spielmann, Grundkurs Film I, Schroedel 2008, S. 66f.

About the "Polaroid CVs" in the film: were there any thoughts about how quickly you can show them? They are very funny, but cut so quickly that you miss a lot of details.

Bonnefoy: With these Polaroid sequences, which we called "flash forwards" when we were editing, we worked extremely hard on how long they should be, these individual moments. We had them much longer in the beginning, then we thought: Is that sluggish, that doesn’t work, that's much too slow! Then we had them much, much shorter, it was almost like a kaleidoscope of images. And we experimented until the end, actually the whole time. I think now they are six frames long. Six frames is a quarter of a second, these are changes, little things that can hardly be registered. But we wanted it to be just perceptible enough to give you the feeling that it's going too fast. In the first versions of the film, we realised that the "flash forwards" could be misunderstood as flashbacks [a flashback to something in the past – Editor's note]. Because as a viewer you are used to seeing such surprising sequences of images, perhaps more as flashbacks. During editing we suddenly thought: Okay, then we inserted a board with the words "And then …" before the beginning of all these sequences. So that you feel: Okay, so it goes on like this. We have tinkered with it a lot.

Source and full interview as PDF (in German):,
Video interview on

Task 1

  1. Take a look at the three film clips and select still images to better understand the woman’s story. To generate a still image, tap on the camera icon in the video. Arrange the still images chronologically in the corresponding column.

TC: 00:12:22 – 00:12:43

TC: 00:34:41 – 00:34:59

TC: 00:53:24 – 00:53:41

  1. For each of the three hyperlink sequences, write a short summary of what the future holds for the woman.
  2. Describe what effect these sequences have on you. Discuss possible reasons why the filmmaker staged and incorporated the flash-forwards in this way.
  3. Compare the woman's future shown in the flash forwards with the course of Lola's runs. Can you see a connection?
  4. What version of "and then …" would you prefer for the woman? Give reasons.