“Lola” is a cinematic elaboration of the director’s concerns about mutation in a democratic system (as radical as it is camouflaged) which we all in USA and Europe are moving through in the 21st century. The film depicts and describes this mutation by stylistically grasping the very atmosphere of post-democratic life, when “forms of power are architectural and impersonal… [and] politics is post-ideological which means that critical disposition, symbolic gesture, political position, and everyday life are completely dissociated.” (Irmgard Emmelhainz, “Geopolitics and Contemporary Art: From Representation’s Ruin to Salvaging the Real”). Each person now has to be not only an applicant for a job, a “worry-er” about chances to get it plus a tireless fighter with rivals, but also – self-entrepreneur, self-advertiser and performer of the best image of his/her working abilities.

Fassbinder doesn’t want us to watch the film as those viewers who comfortably consume entertaining movies while combining them with “experiencing” Tramp-tower of ice-cream. He doesn’t want us to consume the film with generic attention. He even doesn’t give us enough time to read the subtitles and to think about what we just heard from the characters, who’re permanently rushing after success and scheming/planning their achievements.

The director gives us a practical lesson – if we want to understand the life we are part of, we cannot just swallow pop-corn while our eyes are glued to the magic screen where Lola is sweating with perfume, trying to satisfy her fans, customers and lovers to be able to proudly consume luxury in front of envy of others. She and others around her work as slaves and worry as if they are terminally ill – exactly as we all work outside the sacred time of consuming entertaining movies which make us dream as if while sleeping, because their creators profit on programming our dreams. In “Lola’s” characters we can recognize ourselves as we are – mutated, only if we’ll watch the film at least several times and make a special cognitive effort to comprehend that the democratic system became non-democratic not in the manner of the anti-democracies which are obviously different from democracies (as totalitarian or pre-democratic systems are). Post-democracies in the 21st century (which Fassbinder futuristically/realistically predicted in “Lola”) are capable to effectively mask their essence.

According to the film, the non-freedom and loss of dignity and self-respect in post-democracy are voluntarily accepted because people are quickly compensated through extra-satisfaction – materially-moneyrially and through imaginary pleasures. For example, many homeless in US today are equipped with iPhones and hour after hour/day after day watch animated cartoons and play video-games – activities which satisfy them so disarmingly that they feel proudly and euphorically patriotic (there are no homeless characters in “Lola”, and I use this example in order to help American viewers to understand what Fassbinder is telling us in his film). The poor are passionately dreaming of being wealthy through identification with millionaires as fictional and social figures, whom they can imitate in an imaginary way – just by feeling like them as they imagine them.

Imagination of the masses grows on the glamor of money as an existential fetish and impregnates people’s lives including their personal relations. Lola’s love with Esslin (Matthias Fuchs) – a romantic intellectual, is possible only through Schuckert’s money saving her and him from being on the bottom of the social hierarchy. Lola’s (Barbara Sukowa) relationship with Schuckert (Mario Adorf) is psychologically sophisticated unity of the very polarization of sex and entrepreneurial comradeship. And Lola’s relations with von Bohm (Armin Mueller-Stahl) – are based on marital ties fertilized by this couple’s participation in Schuckert’s public relations and business operations schemes. Various aspects of human togetherness – family, sex, eroticized power games and marriage become absolutely genuine and positive experiences only because the presence of extra-money impregnates and modifies the human soul. Money makes the human love sincere and vital, and only the nobility and dignity of human soul is lost, while human proclivity for disinterested behaviors and feelings is evaporated into sentimental echoes of idiosyncratic sensitivity. But according to the anti-democracy’s system of values it is a small price to pay for human happiness. Poverty of the soul of both rich and poor is not noticed when anti-democracy is taken for democracy. What was fakery and pretense in democracy, became the existential authenticity and genuine joy in post-democracy.


Song about economic and military globalism

‘Project Lindenhof’

Real estate business

Toilet scene

Frank conversations in the restroom

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It is rare moment, when Lola and Esslin feel as they felt before, at the beginning of their relationship, when they were naively, disinterestedly and dedicatedly happy, when their love and life were one.

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Schuckert noticed Lola as a part time prostitute and became impressed with her “best ass in the NATO” and fascinated with her quick intelligence. He made her a full time businesswoman, cabaret singer and a creative profit-calculating partner. Together they became like a perverted father-figure and the precocious child. Her emancipated ambitiousness made even him learn some things from her. They are on the way to become equal partners. In post-democracy it is enough to be an exemplary success story.

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Von Bohm is surrendering his pride, respectability and solidity to Lola’s femininity and irresistibility. He already made love with her. Now, after learning about her real status in the empire of Schuckert he is heroically decided to make love to her as a prostitute in order to redeem her past, as if, to baptize the harlot by and into marriage.

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We don’t see Lola’s face because of the position of von Bohm’s head, and – his face by the same reason. Lola lovingly sells herself to his love (it is possible only in post-democracy by the small price of losing human faces)

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The billionaire Schuckert is in a place where, as he likes to say, “We are all equal”. But in all another places it is for Schuckert – money the effective instrument of post-democratic equality (that is, equality of belonging to the same existential hierarchy).

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Schuckert is on his way to give some money to protesters against the war. As he explains, he likes to invest in various enterprises.

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The role of the American GI (Gunther Kaufmann) in the world of “Lola” is like the role of militaries in the global economy – they are everywhere in the world but “without too much publicity” about it. Pay attention that this particular individual is left-handed and human relations enthusiast – in the context of the film it means that he is very active in a certain private trade. He is not just a soldier (in post-democracy nobody has just one profession or occupation), he is more – he is a businessman.

Posted on 7/20/’16 –   Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “Lola” (1981) – Lola: Amorous Career and Emancipated Appeal to The Logic And Triumphalism of Financial Success by Acting-Out Politics