Germany in the autumn of 1957: Lola, a seductive cabaret singer-prostitute (Barbara Sukowa) exults in her power as a temptress of men, but she wants out—she wants money, property, and love. Pitting a corrupt building contractor (Mario Adorf) against the new straight-arrow building commissioner (Armin Mueller-Stahl), Lola launches an outrageous plan to elevate herself in a world where everything, and everyone, is for sale. Shot in childlike candy colors, Fassbinder’s homage to Josef von Sternberg’s classic The Blue Angel stands as a satiric tribute to capitalism. —The Criterion Collection
Rainer Werner Fassbinder (May 31, 1945 – June 10, 1982) was born into a cultured bourgeois family in the small Bavarian spa town Bad Wörishofen. Raised by his mother as an only child, the boy had only sporadic contact with his father, a doctor, after the divorce of his parents when he was five. Educated at a Rudolf Steiner elementary school and subsequently in Munich and Augsburg, the city of Bert Brecht, he left school before passing any final examinations. A cinema addict (“five times a week, often three films a day”) from a very early age, not least because his mother needed peace and quiet for her work as a translator, “the cinema was the family life I never had at home.”
Fassbinder made his first short films at the age of twenty, persuading a male lover to finance them in exchange for leading roles. He also applied for a place at the Berlin Film School (dffb), but was refused. He acted in both his early films: DER STADTSTREICHER (The City Tramp), which also featured Irm… read more
Fassbinder remakes Sternberg's "Blue Angel" in post-World War II and seems to be saying that, a war later, Germany is still the same. The ending, though, completely alters his statement: if in the end of "Blue Angel" the man dies of shame, in "Lola" he lets himself be corrupted by the immoral society that Democracy has implemented in Germany and that is as artificial as the dream-like cinematography of the movie.
Though not quite up to the standards of the other two entries in Fassbinder's BRD Trilogy, this homage to von Sternberg's The Blue Angel is still a magnificent melodrama in the grand tradition of Douglas Sirk. In the Dietrich role, Sukowa is both sexy and ruthless as the cynical chanteuse who latches onto Mueller-Stahl's building commissioner in order to further her ambitions. Garishly colourful and quite sumptuous..
It may not work as the intentional allegory of occupied and divided Germany, but that gap is masterfully tamed by the spellbind vaudeville universe through Schwarzenberger's palette as well as insidious details as the rimshots motifs. And thinking Mr. Baz Luhrmann sources of inspiration wouldn't go beyond La Traviata, La Bohème and Indian culture myths, this Fassbinder's doomed love triangle isn't spared