literature, cinema, fine arts

Lola (1981)

Fates from the density of new German cinema

  • Produced by Müpa Budapest

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It is possible that film buffs among you are not unfamiliar with Josef von Sternberg's 1930 film The Blue Angel, with Marlene Dietrich (Lola) in the starring role. Though if that doesn't ring a bell, you might at least know the song, Ich bin die fesche Lola. Fassbinder, however, would not for a moment have considered simply reshooting one of the first big hits in German talking pictures. He moves the story forward to 1957, ruthlessly depriving it of the innocent degeneracy of the original. In 1957, the German recovery is underway, money is rolling in, and Coburg's worthy residents see no reason to place a dam in the path of the tide of goodwill.

Apart from the brand new construction supervisor, von Böhm, who arrives in the blossoming city from somewhere in East Prussia and resolutely attempts to fight the high level of corruption practised by the rich property and brothel owner. Fassbinder's film is a morality tale, and as such is a close relative of the works of Bertolt Brecht ("What is the robbing of a bank compared to the founding of a bank?” and Dürrenmatt (The Visit ), as somehow it poses a similar question: are we sure that the most seriously amoral people end up at the brothel? While the original Lola is a story of passion and fallibility, Fassbinder's Lola (Barbara Sukowa) makes it clear at the very start of the film that the mind is wiser than the soul. It is certainly true that all of Fassbinder's films feature - either expressly or implicitly - the duality of mind and spirit. And the tragedy of the devouring of the spirit. Which is why poor von Böhm (Armin Mueller-Stahl) is condemned to failure. His failure, however, is portrayed differently to that of Heinrich Mann's and von Sternberg's Professor Unrat, for example. In some ways, you could see it as a thoroughly happy ending. Is there anything wrong with everyone getting their just deserts? And what's the problem if not only the young lady but the newly wedded wife is also up for grabs?

In German, with Hungarian subtitles.
The discussions before and after the screening will be conducted in Hungarian.

Presented by: Müpa Budapest
  • director
    Rainer Werner Fassbinder
  • host
    András Réz

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