Lola Rennt or Run Lola Run is an amazing German movie with a simple premise. In the film, a woman must find 100.000 Deutsche Mark in 20 minutes, or her boyfriend will be shot. This woman is Lola, played by Franka Potente, and she runs through Berlin trying to find the sum of money to replace what her drug-dealing boyfriend lost in the subway.
Run Lola Run combines a lo-fi aesthetic with a lot of fast action, creating an amazing movie that everyone should watch. Directed by Tom Tykwer, Run Lola Run has a videogame-like sensibility to a thriller movie with speed in everything you see.
Speed and many references to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, but we are not here to describe and analyze this movie. But you should watch the trailer from Run Lola Run below and get in the mood.
You should really watch Run Lola Run
I watched Run Lola Run for the first time long ago, but I still remember everything about it. The year was 1999, and I was 18 years old. I left the movie thinking about the fantastic soundtrack and how beautiful and attractive Berlin felt in the story. I couldn’t imagine that some years later, I would be living in this city and visiting a few of the movie locations daily.
When I visited Berlin for the first time in June 2011, I aimed to find a few locations where Run Lola Run was filmed. But I could only see the Oberbaumbrücke. And this happened because I didn’t know that Tom Tykwer, the movie director, decided to play fast and loose with the city’s geography. This is why you sometimes see Lola running through a neighborhood to get to a place on the opposite side of Berlin. After you know the locations, it seems crazy to see Lola running around Berlin.
And everything was done with a purpose. From the beginning, the people behind Run Lola Run wanted to show a less familiar side of Berlin. Something that you didn’t see in most movies that featured Berlin. For once, they didn’t want to show the Brandenburger Tor, the Zoo Bahnhof, and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
Run Lola Run wanted to show a city you only see on the second look. But this was the nineties, and a lot has changed in Berlin since then, and, maybe we can blame the movie for some of this.
But where are the locations of Run Lola Run in Berlin?
Run Lola Run was filmed all across Berlin, in the east and west parts of the city. And, most of the time, the locations are not what you expect them to be. You are going to see what we mean below.
Since you saw the movie, you can easily recognize this building. But, if you don’t, this is Lola’s apartment house. Located a few meters away from the Spree River and S-Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse, this building is a series of offices nowadays. It is even weird to me to visit the place and see people going to work like they must do every day, without thinking about where they are.
When Lola starts running, she leaves her apartment, and you can see the arches of the famous Oberbaumbrücke. And so it begins how Tom Tykwer decided to play with the geography of Berlin in this movie.
She lives in Mitte, but when she starts running, she is already a few kilometers away, going in the opposite direction of where she wants to go. Today, this bridge between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain is one of the most famous postcards of Berlin.
But it was still somewhat new since it was closed from 1945 to 1994.
I always believed that Tom Tykwer decided to use this bridge in the movie to show a reunited Germany. Since the bridge was one of the few checkpoints between East and West Berlin and it was only opened to pedestrians and traffic in November 1994, I always thought Lola ran through it to show how Berlin was one city once again.
But we see him more in another part of the city, waiting by a telephone booth where he calls Lola.
The phone booth only exists in the movie, and I only realized that when I went to the corner of Tauroggener Strasse and Osnabrücker Strasse, close to where the U-bahn Mierendorffplatz is located.
Across the street, you can see the grocery store he robs in the movie. Today, this location from Run Lola Run is an Edeka supermarket. You can enter the place and see how similar it is to the shop in the movie.
When Manni robs the grocery store, he and Lola run from the police, surrounded by them in an area that doesn’t look like the movie. You can go to the north end of Cuvrystraße and see for yourself, but everything there is pretty much gone. The only place you can still see some resemblance is in front of Lido, which can be seen behind the cops when they shoot Lola.
When Lola runs to seek the help of her father, she crosses the Oberbaumbrücke again. To get there, she runs close to Französische Strasse U-Bahn station, and we can see how the director played around with the geography of Berlin because, a little later, she is at Bebelplatz.
She goes to the Deutsch Transfer Bank to convince her father to lend her money. And, of course, things get a little crazy. Today, you can find the Hotel de Rome, where the movie was shot.
Close by, you can find the casino where Lola wins enough money to save Manni from his mistakes. The casino is in front of the Deutsches Historisches Museum, but the building has nothing to do with a casino.
This building is the Kronprinzenpalais, a palace of the ruling Hohenzollern house of Prussia until the abolition of the monarchy at the end of the First World War.
On one of Lola’s runs, she goes through a group of nuns while a guy on a bike talks to her. This happens in Mauerstraße, close to where Checkpoint Charlie is, and the place still looks pretty much the same.
Another place that looks pretty much the same is where you can see Herr Meier coming out of the garage. This scene is one of my favorites from the movie, and I keep returning to it every time I walk in front of a garage door like that.
Run Lola Run is a fantastic movie that everybody should watch before coming to Berlin. The director, Tom Tykwer, created an extended short film, repeated three times as Lola runs to try again and again to get it right.
Watch Run Lola Run again and follow our map above to visit all the locations of this fantastic German movie.