The first time I watched this film, years and years ago, I knew nothing about it. It’s one of the first German films I watched and I know the modernity of it all had something to do with reshaping my definition of foreign film and independent cinema.
As I watch it now, being a screenwriter and filmmaker, I am struck by the complexity of the finished product. In screenwriting there are rules of what you can and can’t do. Just like there are rules for directing and editing. But writers and directors from all over the would, throughout the history of cinema, have been breaking rules.
You name a great, they broke a rule. I recently watched a video of John McTeirnan talking about cinematic language and filmmaking philosophy. One of the first things he mentions is the rules of camera movement and editing he broke when he made Die Hard. He set out to break them, specifically assembled a team that would work with him to make the film without those limitations back in the 80’s. Yet somehow, even now, the same tired advice keeps getting passed out. It always starts with “you can’t do that.”
The exciting and entertaining story of Run Lola Run, from writer and director Tom Tykwer , is a checklist of no-no’s. Flashbacks, too many characters, black and white, side characters, animation, breaking the third wall, parallel stories, repetition, split-screen, genre confusion — and yet…it works.
Yesterday I mentioned that filmmakers should be empowered to tell the story in the scope that works for the story. I also believe you can’t tell every story in the same way. Filmmakers, directors, and writers should tell the story in whatever way works for the story. Sometimes you need to break old rules to create new ways to make good film.
Run Lola Run is proof you can do that. And anything else you want to. Just tell a good story.
Holiday Spirit: +2
The Food: Vegetable and Coconut Curry
This is a recipe but it’s also an inspiration guide. Don’t worry about following the rules too closely. Make it with the vegetables you want to eat.
Curry is mostly about getting the spices to bloom and creating a small thick sauce. Everything else is flexible.
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- 4-6 tablespoons of curry powder
- 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon cinamaon
- 1/2 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 cardamom pods, opened and shell removed
- 1/4 teaspoon of cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 large onion
- 2 tablespoons garlic
- 3 cups chopped potato
- 2 cups cauliflower
- 2 carrots
- 1 cup frozen whole french green beans
- 1 cup chick peas
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 3 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Heat the oil in a large stew pot. Add the spices, onions, and garlic. Be careful with the temperature, you want the onions to sizzle but the mustard seeds pop so don’t turn it up too high.
In 5 minutes put in the potatoes. Fry them until they get a little color, 7-10 minutes. Add the cauliflower and carrots. By this time you should have a nice coating of flavour on the bottom of the pan. Time to deglaze.
(If you want, you can add tomatoes but if they’re watery, reduce the amount of stock.Or you could use tomato paste.)
Add the stock to the pan, slowly. Scrape your spoon over the bottom of the pan to make sure all the caramelization gets picked up into the broth. Let it cook 10 minutes with the lid on, turning to coat the vegetables.
Mix the cornstarch thoroughly into the coconut milk. Pour into the pot and stir. Heat will thicken the sauce.
The trick to making it thick is to have the right thickening agent to liquid ratio so you’re thickening more than you are adding liquid. Don’t cook it too long or the coconut flavour will weaken.
It’s best served on basmati but because of the coconut it also tastes great on jasmine rice. Top with toasted coconut, add raisins, and serve with a side dish of minty raita.
Holiday Spirit: +4