Understanding the importance of directions of movement in creating different impacts

Lola runs a lot in Run Lola Run! She runs all over the streets of Berlin to save Manni, and we, as spectators, can feel the effort that it costs her. However, not every one of Lola's runs across the screen feels equally exhausting for us - how come?

The fact that movements of people or objects across the screen appear to have different degrees of difficulty and effort depending on which direction they are going , is due to our knowledge and understanding of the physical rules of gravity. Movements from top to bottom are perceived as lighter and easier than those from bottom to top, because our experience tells us that although things fall down easily, it takes effort to move something against the force of gravity.

How strenuous we perceive a direction of movement has not only to do with our physical experiences, but also with our cultural background. In western cultures, it is common to read from left to right, which is why this direction of movement is often perceived as pleasant and easy. Accordingly, the direction of movement from right to left is considered more strenuous. In film language, this effect is called directionality or directionality.

Task 1

  1. Have a look at the excerpts of the 3 runs in which Lola crosses the Gendarmenmarkt 📍 in Berlin.
  2. In the workspace you will find still images from the 3 runs. Generate arrows and draw Lola's path across the space.
  3. Lola's runs seem to be strenuous but in different ways. Choose as many weights as you like and drop them into the still images to indicate how hard or tiring the particular run seems to you.

TC: 00:23:21 – 00:23:27

TC: 00:46:49 – 00:46:52

TC: 01:07:57 – 01:08:09

running direction
  1. Compare the difficulty of the runs over the Gendarmenmarkt with the success or failure of the runs as a whole. Can you see any connections?

Task 2

  1. Lola walks through many different streets and is filmed from many different angles. Have a look at the three still images below from the 3 runs and draw Lola's running direction with arrows.
  2. Again, choose as many weights as you like and place them next to the still images to indicate how heavy or laborious the run seems to you.
  3. Try to find out which still image belongs to which run, then drag the three run icons in front of the still images.
running direction
  1. On the basis of your findings on this page, describe how the director uses directions of movement and graphic elements, decor and locations to visually indicate the success or failure of Lola's runs.