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By Christopher Zinsli | May 13, 2004

It might seem belittling to say that a polished short like “Praxis” is little more than a rip-off of “Run Lola Run,” but it’s impossible to ignore the similarities in score, story events, and cinematography. Set to the same type of pulsing techno beat that pushed Lola on her way, the story begins when a businessman exits an office building holding a briefcase (we could call it “die Tasche”). A second man eyes up the briefcase, gives chase, and the two are off and running on a brisk tour of the Baltimore waterfront and nearby areas.
The men run down steps, jump fences, and even knock over a bicyclist (though this one is not ridden by a bum or a young man in a soccer jersey). They dash through a cobblestone courtyard, and an aerial zoom shot captures their progress. At one point the first man is nearly hit by a car emerging from an alleyway (driven by Herr Meier, I’m certain). At another the second man stops, having lost his target, and the camera slowly spins around him, jump cuts punctuating the circular camera movement.
The film’s punchline, when the chase comes to an end and the contents of the briefcase are disclosed, is worth a chuckle, but nothing leading up to the big reveal contributes in any way toward that moment. Since we don’t know why the pursuit is happening in the first place, it’s impossible to feel any sort of dramatic tension. Some nice running cinematography (even though the actors don’t look like they’re running very hard) can’t make this short seem more original than it isn’t.

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