Composers shape our understanding using distinctively visual images, presenting the idea that characters are constantly battling universal powers in their particular worlds. The overarching enigmatic powers of time and fate are epitomised in Tom Tykwer’s postmodern film “Run Lola Run” and Shaun Tan’s allegorical picture book ‘The Lost Thing’. The particular world created in ‘Run Lola Run’ challenges the audience’s understanding through the distinctively visual images, which elicit the domineering power of time and fate and the disruptions these cause for the characters. Social conventions are also shaped through distinctive images in Shaun Tan’s ‘The Lost Thing’, which challenges’ the characters control over overriding forces. The multi-faceted ideas of universal powers are evoked in these compositions through distinctively visual images.
Para 1: Time
The transcendent and overarching power of time creates an everlasting battle between characters and the particular world in which they exist. The opening credits of ‘Run Lola Run’ depict a low angle tracking shot of a ticking pendulum and a large menacing grandfather’s clock, followed by an intense zoom into ‘mouth’ of the clock, thus emphasising the universal and inescapable power of time and foreshadows the significance of its role in the film. Moreover, Lola finds herself in a life-threatening situation where she only has 20 minutes to obtain $100,000 to save Manni’s life. The juxtaposition of the frenetic paced jump cuts to slow motion of a telephone being thrown distinctively heightens the foreboding pressure that time places on characters, allowing audiences to cogitate the severity of situations in retrospect and giving consideration to the limits of time. However, the 360-degree tracking shot of Lola and the close up illustrating her stern facial expression reveals her determination to challenge and defeat the constraints of time. Furthermore, a low angle tracking shot exhibits a mounted clock in the casino, demonstrating Lola’s defiance against time, as she is willing to risk everything in challenging the omnipotent presence through a game of chance. The constraints of time are what define Lola and her battle with the universal power in which distinctively visual images convey the composer’s purpose in shaping particular worlds.
Para 2: Challenging social conventions
Similarly, in Shaun Tan’s, ‘The Lost Thing,’ the challenging of social conventions and norms are conveyed through surrealistic, distinctively visual images, which shape the world presented in the book. Characters are battling the pervading forces of a hegemonic society in seeking to find the creature a home. The use of colours/hue in ‘The Lost Thing’ accentuates the idea that the creature is an outsider, contrasted to the uniformity of the particular world. Shaun Tan’s specific use of the colour red for the creature creates salience to the distinctively different world and further contrasts with the dull monochromatic colour scheme portrayed in the landscape and background characters. The colour red further relates to Lola’s hair, creating a link between her and the creature, as in both contexts, red symbolises their dissimilarity to their respective worlds. In each illustration the creature juxtaposes and therefore challenges the hegemonic conformity of the world by being distinctively different. This is similar to the protagonists of ‘Run Lola Run’ who mirror the qualities of the creature, as they too are considered outcasts in their particular world. The panel layout of Shaun Tan’s, ‘The Lost Thing’ enforces the fragmentation of the story through which the obscurity of the creature is intensified. This is reflected in “Run Lola Run” as Tom Tykwer incorporates fragmentation into film through the recurring split screen during each run. The intertwining of such universal powers directly causes the audience to question the significance of social conventions. Therefore, through each composition the characters battle with social conventions shapes the understanding of their respective world.
Para 3: Fate ; Free will
Similarly to that of time, fate and free will can be attributed as two of the universal powers in ‘Run Lola Run’, which challenge characters in their respective worlds through distinctively visual images. In the 1st run, split screening between Manni, Lola and the clock demonstrates the anticipated fate of Lola when she fails to reach Manni in time only by a matter of seconds. Hence, the specific disruptions throughout her run construct her fate, ultimately resulting in her death. The unrelenting universal power of fate combats Lola’s drive to reach Manni before he robs the store, thus contributing to the audiences understanding that there is no direct way to alter fate- she must overcome the fated obstacles, as she cannot avoid them. Juxtaposition of the split screen in the 1st run to 2nd illustrates Lola’s triumph in reaching Manni before he robs the bank, altering fate, however Manni’s fate is already sealed in this run as he dies, instead of Lola. The inevitability of one’s fate and free will is depicted through Manni’s death revealing to the audience that there is no way to control universal powers. On the final run, a bird’s eyes view shot of the roulette wheel, symbolises fate itself and is contrasted with the dichotomy of free will, in which Lola defies chance and fate to change the outcome of previous runs. The audience is met with Lola’s debilitating scream in an effort to will the ball to land on her number to win $100,000. The breaking of the glass portrays Lola’s power and the battle with universal forces to reconstruct her future. As there is no feasible means of reconciling vastly philosophical ideas of fate and free will, Tom Tykwer’s Tripartite filmic structure suggests that the powers of fate and free will are co-existing and all powerful through depicting the characters’ battles.
In conclusion, the battle between characters and universal forces in their particular worlds deepens responders’ understanding of the universal concept of time, fate and social conventions. Time is portrayed to be inescapable and continuous, however Lola challenges this power throughout the film. Similarly, the imminent power of fate also is demonstrated to responder’s through the constant retaliation from Lola against her destiny. The overarching presence of social conventions depicted in Shaun Tan’s ‘The Lost Thing’ encompasses the characters defiance to societies hegemonic framework. Thus, the interconnectedness of universal powers across compositions demonstrated through distinctively visual images encapsulates the constant battle characters face in their particular worlds.