Home » LOLA

Succinctly put, time travel films are always a bafflement — when you alter the past in any way, this action will have far-reaching effects that will completely change the future; what happens when you make it disappear? That is the basic paradox of time travel and it is as intricate in a multiverse with free will as it is in one deterministic linear universe. Time travel is therefore more complex than most people realize.

Primer, for instance, is one such movie that actually gives time travel the respect it deserves by going into detail about even minor instances of time jumps. Another great example of such films is Andrew Legge’s LOLA, which he co-wrote with Angeli Macfarlane. Although injected with whimsy and fantasy, LOLA takes time travel very seriously. It’s an enigmatic film that doesn’t want to be confined; a magical realist sci-fi rom-com that ends up being set during World War II, but not just.

It’s also another found footage film and it brings back this genre with more originality than it has had in years. Primarily because they are edited (fictitious) home movies from the 1930s and 1940s on era-specific cameras like Bolex or Newman Sinclair using nothing but 16mm or 35mm film. To accomplish this blending archiving and found footage are employed together with compositing to manipulate them. Thus we get an alternate reality told through two sisters’ home videos that let us see how they created a different kind of time machine and changed World War II and history itself entirely. It’s a weird little tour de force.

Thus, LOLA isn’t quite an experimental film but rather a totally other kind of thing altogether. This grainy black-and-white movie has all the trappings of found footage such as deliberately shaky handheld aesthetic which serves as the only real orientation into its world where we get any establishing exposition is an intertitle that reads:

And then the scratchy Bolex film begins, immediately launching you into the dreamy perspective of two brilliant sisters, Thom and Mars. The house they inhabit is a massive country estate decked out in 200-year-old silk wallpaper left by their dead parents. Emma Appleton and Stefanie Martini’s performances are elegant and enthralling as they convincingly portray these reclusive geniuses who live in seclusion with no one but themselves for company.

However, Thom is more scientific and pragmatic than her sister since she has been consumed with their new invention – a complex machine which detects the faintest electromagnetic radiation even from future (which negates the asymmetrical, unilateral view of time). Thus it is capable of picking up radio or TV stations from years or even decades ahead. Before long, though, the sisters are dancing to David Bowie three decades before his debut album was released.

They also see a terrible wave of death and destruction descending upon the UK. The 1940s are coming close, and through their machine called LOLA they know what Hitler will do to Europe and how the world will suffer for it. For this reason, they begin giving secret information to British intelligence agencies; when they know there is going to be a bombing or some other such disaster, they send a kind of pirate radio broadcast that alerts the army. It pays off and soon Britain has got one over on Axis forces.

All of this is told elliptically and at a fast pace with some smart stylistic touches, great editing, as well as an absolutely stunning score by the wonderful Neil Hannon that sounds like Steve Reich remixed Max Richter. While disorienting as well as wonderfully unusual, it’s never dull. Appleton and Martini are completely natural here – perfect fits for the found footage look – even filming parts themselves – while holding an archaic Bolex camera. Oona Menges does good work outside them with old cameras which she uses lighting to make effective.

The use of archive footage is simply brilliant. To support his claims, the director compares it with Zelig, Woody Allen’s great movie where the main character impersonates himself in different historical contexts (this happened about ten years prior to Forrest Gump). However, while using altered or staged documentary materials and newsreels in found footage project otherwise is not new. This makes for a very different tactic though within which works wonders with wholly alternative history presented through altered/staged documentary footage/news-reels within found footage framework.

With Thom and Mars together British intelligence discovers LOLA is no longer just being used by Thom alone . Thom gets jealous because Mars falls in love with a military man who Thom actually had secret feelings for.’ Having focused more on her mission to ensure better intelligence into war-time life-saving, Lola becomes increasingly utilitarian until she reaches some hard-and fast conclusions – tweaking one single variable will mean a hundred deaths but will save two thousand lives for example. These ‘lifeboat dilemmas’ are captivating hypothetical questions, and the consequences of those on history never leave their minds.

LOLA eventually gets surprisingly dark after its initially rather delightful and eccentric first half. Others might not like where it ends up (which is not exactly a happy ending), or that particular ridiculous scene (although this is after all a fantasy film). In any case, it was better than the sum of its parts here, with LOLA remaining an outstandingly inventive, thought provoking, and brilliantly realized little masterpiece which hopefully receives the credit it deserves.

Watch free movies on Fmovies

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top