7.5/10
4,797
18 user 41 critic

Lola (1981)

In post-war West Germany, the charming Von Bohm is appointed a city's new Building Commissioner. His morality is tested when he unknowingly falls in love with a brothel worker, Lola, the paid mistress of a corrupt property developer.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Barbara Sukowa ... Lola
Armin Mueller-Stahl ... Von Bohm
Mario Adorf ... Schuckert
Matthias Fuchs ... Esslin
Helga Feddersen Helga Feddersen ... Fräulein Hettich
Karin Baal ... Lola's Mother
Ivan Desny ... Wittich
Elisabeth Volkmann ... Gigi
Hark Bohm Hark Bohm ... Völker
Karl-Heinz von Hassel Karl-Heinz von Hassel ... Timmerding (as Karl Heinz von Hassel)
Rosel Zech ... Frau Schuckert
Sonja Neudorfer Sonja Neudorfer ... Frau Fink
Christine Kaufmann ... Susi
Y Sa Lo Y Sa Lo ... Rosa
Günther Kaufmann ... GI
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Storyline

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

West Germany

Language:

German | English | French | Latin

Release Date:

4 August 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lola See more »

Filming Locations:

Eichstätt, Bavaria, Germany See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

DEM3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,623, 16 February 2003

Gross USA:

$8,144

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,144
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Fujicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Lola: Hello.
Lola: What are you doing here?
Lola's Mother: He lives here. He's a Negro.
Lola: I can see that.
See more »


Soundtracks

Am Tag Als Der Regen Kam
(Le Jour où la Pluie Viendra)
Music by Gilbert Bécaud
Lyrics by Pierre Delanoë
Arranged By Peer Raben
Vocals by Barbara Sukowa
(P) 1981 Schlicht Musikverlage
Label: Milan, SPI
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User Reviews

Hormones and local government
21 December 2008 | by federovskySee 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.


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