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 »
Munich, 1955: A sports journalist meets Veronika Voss, an UFA actress who supposedly had an affair with Goebbels. Now declining, Voss is kept by her "kind" doctor, Dr. Katz, supplying her ... See full summary »
In Nantes, a bored young man named Roland is letting life pass him by when he has a chance meeting with a woman he knew in his teens: she's Lola, now a cabaret dancer. She's also the ... See full summary »
A young man is elected by a small village to be its parson. As part of his duties, he is required to marry the widow of the parson before him. This poses two problems--first, the widow is ... See full summary »
Toni Le Brun, a beautiful Viennese singer, becomes the ward of the wardrobe mistress of a Monte Carlo nightclub. Her benefactor, however, is actually a baroness incognito. Toni falls in ... See full summary »
Walter, a German anarchist poet, is short of money after his publisher refuses to give him an advance. He tries various ways of raising money, including shooting one of his mistresses and ... See full summary »
On a film set there are two things missing, the film material and the director. So the actors and actresses as well as the crew try to make the best out of the situation. When the director ... See full summary »
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
One of Luis Bunuel's most free-form and purely Surrealist films, consisting of a series of only vaguely related episodes - most famously, the dinner party scene where people sit on ... See full summary »
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
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 »
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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