Thirty Years Ago: RWF’s LOLA

LOLA_rechts.serendipityThumbBRD 3 – The Third Part of a West German Trilogy

On August 20, 1981, part 3 of the BRD Trilogy premiered at the Theater Walhalla in Wiesbaden. LOLA was a co-production by Rialto Film, Trio-Film and the West German television broadcaster WDR. The script was written by Peter Märthesheimer and Pea Fröhlich, with whom Fassbinder had also worked on the scripts for THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN (1978) and VERONIKA VOSS (1981).

LOLA brought success above all to its two leading actors. Following the premiere Barbara Sukowa was described in a Spiegel cover story as “The Blue Angel of the Adenauer Epoch.” And for Armin Mueller-Stahl, an East German actor who had emigrated to the West in 1981, LOLA proved to be a springboard to international success.

The film is set in a small West German town in 1957, where, with the help of the Economic Miracle, a booming economy is generating a new sense of optimism. In the town brothel, “Villa Fink,” Lola (Barbara Sukowa), a young high-class prostitute with a zest for life, is the star of the show. Her favorite client is the influential developer Schuckert (Mario Adorf), who enjoys spending time at Villa Fink with city officials important to his construction business. When von Bohm (Armin Mueller-Stahl), an upright, energetic building commissioner with a liberal, social-democratic outlook, arrives in the town, he falls in love with Lola without being aware where she works by night. Although he is shocked when he learns of her true identity, he nevertheless marries her to the satisfaction of all concerned. As a result Lola gains a husband and Schuckert is awarded a new building contract. Ultimately neither Lola, von Bohm nor Schuckert are really concerned with what has happened in the past or the morality of their decisions – the main thing is that they get what they want.

Fassbinder himself said in 1980 that THE MARRIAGE OF MARIA BRAUN and LOLA “are films about the country as it is today. To understand the present, what a country has and will become, one needs to understand the whole story.” The BRD Trilogy, which also includes VERONIKA VOSS, represents RWF’s attempt to create an overall picture of West Germany at the time, its double moral standards, and the “hazards and dangers” these implied.

More Information:
RWFF Filmography about LOLA


Photo left: Barbara Sukowa in RWF’s LOLA, 1981 © RWFF