Lola (1981)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  4 August 1982 (USA)
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Ten years after the war, West Germany's market economy is booming. Into an unnamed city that's rife with corruption comes a new building commissioner, Herr von Bohm, committed to progress ... See full summary »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mario Adorf ...
Matthias Fuchs ...
Helga Feddersen ...
Karin Baal ...
Lola's Mother
Ivan Desny ...
Elisabeth Volkmann ...
Hark Bohm ...
Karl-Heinz von Hassel ...
Timmerding (as Karl Heinz von Hassel)
Frau Schuckert
Sonja Neudorfer ...
Frau Fink
Y Sa Lo ...


Ten years after the war, West Germany's market economy is booming. Into an unnamed city that's rife with corruption comes a new building commissioner, Herr von Bohm, committed to progress but also upright. He's smitten by Marie-Louise, a single mother who's his landlady's daughter. Von Bohm does not realize she is also Lola, a singer at a bordello and the mistress of Schuckert, a local builder whose profits depend on von Bohm's projects. When von Bohm discovers Marie-Louise's real vocation and looks closely at Schuckert's work, will this social satire play out as a remake of "Blue Angel," a visit of Chekhov to West Germany, or an update of Jean Renoir's "Rules of the Game"? Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »





Release Date:

4 August 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lola, une femme allemande  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


DEM 3,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Part of the BRD Trilogy along with The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979) and Veronika Voss (1982). "BRD" stands for Bundesrepublik Deutschland, the official name of West Germany and of the united contemporary Germany, period in which those three stories takes place. See more »


The photograph above the mayor's desk shows downtown Houston, Texas as it looked in the 1960s. The film is set in the late 1950s. See more »


Von Bohm: I want to buy your prostitute!
Schukert: With pleasure.
[Schukert grabs and gives Lola to Von Bohm]
See more »


References The Blue Angel (1930) See more »


Unter fremden Sternen
Performed by Freddy Quinn
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User Reviews

Hormones and local government
21 December 2008 | by (bangkok) – See all my reviews

Part of his loose BRD (Bundesrepublik Deutschland) Trilogy - portraits of women in German society after the war - this late Fassbinder is based on the same story behind Sternberg's Blue Angel. Lola is a nightclub singer and prostitute, personal whore of larger-than-life property developer Schukert, at a red-light establishment favoured by the mayor and his cronies. Into this cosy, corrupt world comes a new Building Commissioner, Von Bohm – a meticulous character that the others cannot draw into their circle. With plenty of building going on in Germany during the 50s, Von Bohm is an important official whom the mayor must somehow get around in order to continue bending the rules on lucrative construction deals. By coincidence, Von Bohm meets and falls in love with Lola, unaware that she is a prostitute. When he finds out, he is devastated, but finally, by way of pragmatism, a moral compromise is reached – boy, are they compromised - and the film comes to rest on a somewhat absurd moral sandbank.

None of the characters are likable – they are all seedy local politicians, after all, but they slowly grow on us. Schukert, in particular takes some getting used to. Fassbinder takes delight in showing us that everyone is corrupt – even apparently incorruptible people. Everyone has a weakness, which is their price. Both money and desire corrupts and debases – it's inevitable - you might as well be practical about it, take pity on yourself and embrace it. In particular, corruption is the price of having eroticism in the world – and that's something we can't do without.

As the film goes along, the darkish tone gives way to levity once you realise that nobody is really going to get hurt. There are some genuinely pensive and romantic moments as well as some fairly gently humour - Von Bohm's neurotic secretary is quite funny. Very little is convincing though - particularly the Von Bohm's infatuation (he seems a little too old, and a little too naive) – and the outcome is even less so. There's very little reliable sociology going on here. Women are viewed as chattels and Lola herself is not really given an adequate personality – nor was Barbara Sukowa noteworthy in the part.

It's worth watching if only for it's striking visual design. The film is lit throughout in lurid primary colours – even outside in broad daylight faces are bathed in coloured light. Perhaps these colours spread outwardly from the nightclub's red light, diffracting through the ordinary world into rainbow hues. It is sometimes intrusive, but mainly effective and attractive.

Fassbinder has extracted one aspect of social behaviour and amplified it to absurdity here. This is not the way the world is, but is perhaps the way he would like it to be: fallible and corrupt, but erotic and benign.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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