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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Rainer Werner Fassbinder
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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 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
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 »
Did you love your wife very much?
I don't really know, perhaps. I came back from the war, and told myself: That's the woman I really love, otherwise I wouldn't have married her. But I didn't feel love. It was just... like the memory of love... Then she told me there was someone else, and for the first time since being back, I really felt something. Not love, but pain. I was thankful to my wife for teaching me how to feel again, even if it was pain.
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Von Bohm is from East-Prussia, his two "weaknesses" are "East-Prussian human beings and West-Frisian tea", he tells to Lola's mother who works as his house-keeper after he has been elected as the new head of the construction department by the city of Coburg. Coburg - as any German city in the time of the "Wirtschaftswunder" - is a place "where people have an outer and an inner life, and both have nothing to do with one another". Although Von Bohm agrees, he has not a ghost of an idea that the elegant and beautiful young lady who gets his hand-kiss is in her "inner" life the attraction of the local bordello where the "crows" (major, police president, politicians, heads of the governmental departments) and the "vulture" (Schuckert) reunite every evening while their wives are knitting at home or are already asleep.
It is amazing what Fassbinder made out of the Heinrich Mann-Von Sternberg drama "Professor Unrat" or "The Blue Angel", respectively. Fassbinder's Lola is not a man-murdering and at last unreachable "beauty" like the (not so beautiful) Marlene Dietrich, but a girl who has to nourish her little daughter and still has the hope for a better live. She is "open" for everybody and does not flirt with the distance. In the opposite: On the stage she goes from hand to hand and is something like a collective propriety of the "Creme De La Creme" of the little city. (The figure of Esslin - whose name is close to Enslin -, who quotes Bakunin in Lola's Boudoir, is probably the rest that remained from the original protagonist character of Professor Unrat.) Therefore, Fassbinder's Lola is not about the decrease of a society member by entering the "wrong" society, but about her way to become a part of her society and Von Bohm's desire to possess his beloved "object". This is managed in an almost fairy-tale-like style, typically (and ironically) for the Germany of the Adenauer-era, so that in the end everybody looks happy, since everybody got what he wanted: Lola says to Mrs. Schuckert: "Now I belong to you". Schuckert earns his 3 millions of D-Marks from the "Lindenhof", the Mayor will be reelected, and Von Bohm gets Lola. Then, Lola's little daughter asks him: "Are you happy now?". Von Bohm answers a bit hesitatingly by "Yes". Unlike Professor Unrat, he does not pay with his life for his love, but probably with his soul.
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