Lesbian spin on German action classic offers twists without originality
2.5 out of 5 stars
And Then There Was Lola
Screens at Q Cinema, Four Day Weekend Theater, 312 Houston St., Fort Worth. Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. $8. Qcinema.org.
Remake or reinvention? And Then Came Lola wants to be considered a lesbian take on Run Lola Run. But because it doesn’t officially credit the source, let’s just call it a rip-off.
If there were nothing to compare it to, And Then Came Lola would merit high praise for its originality. Tom Tykwer’s 1998 German film could then come along and blow it away. The new Lola can huff and puff all it wants, but the lesbian angle is all that sets it apart from the old one, which was a technically superior film as well.
Lola (both of them) tells the same story three times, until it ends happily, here with some gratuitous girl-on-girl action between vignettes. Casey (Jill Bennett) calls Lola (Ashleigh Sumner), her as-yet-uncommitted girlfriend. A meeting has been moved up and Casey, a designer, desperately needs some photos to present to a client. Lola has only 30 minutes (which will be extended to 60) to pick up the pictures and deliver them to Casey at her meeting place. Various modes of transport are employed, but in each variation, Lola has to do a lot of running. And since they’re in San Francisco, a lot of that is uphill.
Some details change each time, but many of the characters recur: the meter maid who boots Lola’s car; the park chick with her dog; a motorcyclist. More important are both women’s exes, about whom we learn more each time the story resets. Danielle (Cathy DeBuono), Casey’s client is also her ex — and doesn’t want to be. Jen (Jessica Graham), the clerk at the photo shop, is Lola’s ex, and there’s still a spark there with each jealous of the other’s new partner.
Helping to sort this out and let the women express their feelings are excerpts from sessions with a therapist (Lisa Dewey). Occasional animated bits move things along.
The film is well-shot and a good soundtrack by (mostly) lesbian artists are pluses. It’s not the pounding techno track of Run Lola Run, but this Lola is far more leisurely.
As a standalone American lesbian movie, And Then Came Lola is clever and entertaining, with insights into lesbian relationships that are common enough to be clichÃ©s but are sometimes cleverly expressed. The sex scenes suggest a lot while showing very little, even though all four lead actresses are out.
To be fair, filmmakers Ellen Seidler and Megan Siler have made one of the more entertaining lesbian films of recent years — as long as you don’t get hung up on where their ideas came from.
Out Takes announces 2009 film award winners
Out Takes Dallas closed out its 2008-09 season (its 10th) last week with a screening of short films — and an announcement of the winners of the year’s top movies to screen at the festival.
The winners are:
Best Narrative Feature Film: Boystown.
Best Narrative Short Film: Love Is Love.
Best Documentary Film (Feature or Short): An Island Calling.
Best Leading Performance in a Feature Film: Sheetal Sheth, The World Unseen.
Best Supporting Performance in a Feature Film: Jill Marie Jones, Drool.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 18, 2009.