Lola: Fassbinder’s First Panel in the Melodramatic Trilogy BTD,

Lola, the third panel of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s impressive BRD Trilogy is the weakest, in my opinion, though imminently watchable and enjoyable.

The first and best film in the trilogy is The Marriage of Maria Braun (BRD 1), followed by the second, Veronika Voss (BRD 2).

The Trilogy centers on three powerful women, played by three terrific German actresses.

The tale is set in 1957 in Coburg, a town dominated by a new power elite, consisting of officials such as the mayor, the police chief, the bank president, and the newspaper editor.

But in post-War Germany, where capitalism begins to take hold, it’s Shuckert. the property developer, who has real power.  It does help that he’s the owner of the town’s popular brothel, in which his favorite employee is the singer Lola.

The narrative is propelled by the arrival (and threatening impact ) of the high-minded and cultured von Bohm, the new building commissioner who’s a refugee from East Prussia.

He hires a woman with her granddaughter as his housekeeper so that he can devote himself to the duties his new job. The housekeeper’s girl is Lola, who decides to know this interesting man; under her real name of Marie-Luise, she soon attracts his attention. Initially he’s unaware of her night job or of the fact that Schuckert is the father of her girl. But when he is finally taken to the brothel, he discovers the truth about her.

Meanwhile, he continues to gather incriminating evidence of the widespread corruption of Coburg, including building permits, masterminded by Schuckert.

When he decides to put a stop to it, nobody is interested, however. Unable to change the system, and still in love with Lola, he marries her.

As a wedding gift, Schuckert gives the deeds of the brothel and, while von Bohm is taking a walk after the church ceremony, he seduces the bride.

Cast
Barbara Sukowa as Lola
Armin Mueller-Stahl as Von Bohm
Mario Adorf as Schukert
Matthias Fuchs as Esslin
Helga Feddersen as Miss Hettich
Karin Baal as Lola’s mother
Ivan Desny as Wittich
Elisabeth Volkmann as Gigi
Hark Bohm as Völker
Karl-Heinz von Hassel as Timmerding
Rosel Zech as Mrs. Schuckert
Christine Kaufmann as Susi