Lola Rennt or Run Lola Run is an amazing german movie with a simple premisse. In the movie, 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 that ended up creating an amazing movie that everyone should watch. Directed by Tom Tykwer, Run Lola Run has a videogame like sensibility to a thriller movie that has speed in everything you see. Speed and a lot of 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 a long time ago but I still remember everything about it. The year was 1999 and I was 18 years old. I went out of the movie thinking about the amazing soundtrack and how beautiful and interesting Berlin felt like 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 on a daily basis.
If you have never watched Run Lola Run, go straight to Amazon and watch it before it is too late.Or go to iTunes and get your copy of the movie there
When I visited Berlin for the first time, in june 2011, I had a goal of trying to find a few locations where Run Lola Run was filmed. But i could only visit the Oberbaumbrücke. And this happened because I didn’t know that Tom Tykwer, the movie director, decided to play fast and loose with the geography of the city. This is why, sometimes, you see Lola running through a neighborhood to get to a place on the opposite side of Berlin. After you know the locations, it seem 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 that you only see on the second look. But this was the nineties and a lot changed in Berlin since them and, maybe, we can blame the movie for some of this.
Read more: A free tour on East Berlin
But, where are the locations of Run Lola Run in Berlin?
Run Lola Run was filmed all across Berlin, in the east and west part of the city. And, most of the times, the locations are not what you expect them to be. You are going to see what we mean below.
Since I believe that 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, nowadays, a series of offices. It is even weird to me to visit the place and see people going to work like they must do everyday, 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 the way that Tom Tykwer decided to play with the geography of Berlin on 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, located between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, is one of the most famous postcards of Berlin. But back then, 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 runs 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 that 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 and they are surrounded by them in an area that doesn’t look at all 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 the front of Lido that 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 try to convince her father to lend her some money. And, of course, things get a little crazy. Today, you can find 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 located 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 favorite from the movie and I keep coming back to it every time that I walk in front of a garage door like that. But, today, this location from Run Lola Run is not a garage but the door to Park Plaza Hotel.
Run Lola Run is an amazing movie that everybody should watch before coming to Berlin. The director, Tom Tykwer, created an extended short movie, 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 from this amazing german movie.