Comparative analysis:  Rabbit Proof Fence (2002)/Run Lola Run (1998)



Run Lola Run (1998) was an incredible high action, race-against-time film that is visually stimulating with bright color and high contrast. I bring this point up first because there is so much action in typical chase scenes in cinema that it is difficult to know what to focus on, so nothing is missed. The stylistic choice of color for Lola’s hair was a brilliant move. Though the entire movie is essentially a long, action-packed, chase-scene, your eye never drifts from her. Her bright red hair centered her in the action and framed her face so you never missed her emotional ques or the emphasized determination. The narrative utilizes flashbacks that bring Lola back to a certain moment in time after everything goes wrong; then restarts from the phone call. Each time the plot restarts, there are subtle but significant changes to the story; this is emphasized by the people she encounters along the way in mini flash-forward montages’ of that person’s life. After a few bad calls and do-over opportunities, she manages to get it right and comes out ahead with her boyfriend, and a bag full of cash she acquired legally.

Rabbit proof fence (2002) was also a great visually stimulating film with a very different kind of chase. Three little girls who were taken away from their home, put in a children’s education camp and forced to learn the western way. The three girls eventually escaped from the camp and made a long journey back home while being chased by government officials who were trying to breed the black out of half-breed children. The choice of color was also critical in this film because it set a warm, high exposure, high contrast, almost post-apocalyptic tone of a desolate wasteland. The cinematography set a very different feeling from Run Lola Run; instead of being a spectator, watching the action in suspense, you feel as if you were one of the girls trying to get back home. Instead of expanded temporal duration from Run Lola Run, Rabbit Proof Fence condenses the duration of nine weeks into a feature length film.

Both films are essentially about the big chase and are told in very different and spectacularly unique ways. Lola is an action-packed, race against time, while the girls are on a race against all odds relying on their knowledge of the land to out-whit an experienced native tracker, white western men and all of the modern machines and technology that they know so little about. The editing techniques were very different as well. Run Lola Run utilized match-on-action sequences throughout the entire film while Rabbit Proof Fence used a variety of emotional eye line match cuts, jump cuts, and shot-reverse-shots. The spatial layout of the films was quite different. Lola seemed to have the average, normal “size” spatial relation of a city dweller in comparison to the number of people who surround her and seems rather large between buildings from the perspective of walking down the street and the distance of her journey. The girls, on the other hand, are perceived as insignificantly small compared to the vastness of the Australian outback and the distance of their journey.

The good news is, both films have relativity happy endings. Lola gets to keep her man alive and out of prison, and two of the three girls make it back home and grow old together.


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