Why are German movies so awesome? I ask this not because I’m about to trot off to Germany for a month like an asshole, but because it is a legitimate question that has plagued you since the dawn of time, when it was just you and some protozoan ooze chillin’ on the as-yet-undivided continents, watching God write the Bible. “Hey, God,” you’d say, “I’ll bet you a kajillion prehistoric space-dollars you can’t use the word ‘tabernacle’ 75 times in one verse,” and God would be all like, “Oh yeah? I’ll do whatever the fuck I want, I’m God — here’s Leviticus. Booyah!” And as God scribbled away, you and the protozoan ooze would exchange knowing looks and you’d say to the ooze, “Why are German movies so awesome?” and the ooze would say, “Well, for starters nobody says ‘booyah’ in them.” And the ooze had a point; it’s really too bad it evolved itself (slightly) into Britney Spears’ fetus, because it really had some good commentary back at the dawn of time.
But enough reminiscing: fast forward from the dawn of time, past all that stuff in Leviticus, and alight on the 20th century — which, let’s face it, will be remembered only for the Germans, who spent most of it making superb cinema (with a little respite in the middle to kill all of my distant relatives — but hey, Hitler was Austrian if we’re really going to point fingers here).
Many unenlightened, shortsighted types would argue that the greatest contribution Germans ever made to humanity was a really effective genocide, or a really elegant sports car. But these are people who have obviously never seen a movie. Even Triumph des Willens, Leni Riefenstahl’s celluloid ode to the Third Reich, is one of the most fascinating films ever made. Then there’s the film adaptation of Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz, which is 17 hours long and therefore nobody has ever seen it, but I’m sure is quite good. There’s that wacky murder movie with the chalky-handprint thing, there’s that vampire one — I mean jeez, what do I have to do, spell it out? Deutscher Film ist toll!
And then of course there’s the greatest German movie of all, or the one I pretend is great so people will think I am the correct mix of quirky, approachable, intellectual and savvy: Lola Rennt, known in this country of heathens as Run Lola Run. In it, a hot girl with wild red hair and an ill-fitting tank top runs pell-mell through Berlin in a reality-eschewing journey to save the life of her loser boyfriend. Lola Rennt is superlative cinema, but not because of its accuracy — I mean, I’ll believe that someone’s bullshit love for a small-time drug dealer can enable her to go back in time twice before I’ll believe some hipster chick in Doc Martens can run from Wilmersdorf to Kreuzberg, two Berlin districts which are approximately 25 miles apart. It also suffers for its wan plot, grating techno soundtrack and really, really grating techno soundtrack.
And yet — Lola Rennt remains dominant in film history for the simple fact that Lola’s unabashedly berserk journey legitimizes the act of completely freaking out under pressure and running around like a total jackass. This activity is something for which I have a marked affinity and a serious proclivity, and before Lola Rennt, I always thought my tendency to act like a five year old when things didn’t go my way was unattractive and more than a little disturbing.
But thanks to Franka Potente’s hotness, I’ve realized that going completely batshit is actually really cool. Sure, you might argue that the real point of Lola Rennt is that love conquers all, including death and the space-time continuum, but you’d be wrong about that, because love is total bullshit and should not be attempted by anyone except the very stupid!!! Na ja, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some very important freaking out to do — in a sexy, ill-fitting tank top, natürlich.