Today: February 22, 2024

Rainer Werner Fassbinder was as prolific a director as he was visionary; making 40 feature films in just fifteen years, before his untimely death, and becoming a pioneering figure in the New German Cinema movement of the 1960s-80s.

A melange of neon colour combined in kaleidoscopic fashion to paint a surreal world of contrast and conflict, Lola was one of his final films and, although some criticised his later work for ‘selling out’ to a more international audience, retains his signature fast-paced and idiosyncratic filmmaking style.

Fassbinder’s avant-garde approach to lighting, coming from his theatrical background and exemplified in the strikingly highlighted eyes of our hero von Bohm (Armin Mueller-Stahl) – perhaps signifying his moral insight – married to a colour palette and visual aesthetic that would make Wes Anderson weak at the knees, make for arresting viewing. If the plot is somewhat overshadowed by the melodramatic characters then this is, arguably, part of the process.

Lola herself, played with menacing ferocity by Barbara Sukowa, is as unhinged a leading lady/femme fatale as you will find in cinematic history. Full of self-loathing but steeled by a kind of resolve that she’s no worse than any of the rest, she’s a painful embodiment of European post-fascist feminism. She makes her own choices and her own money but remains troubled and unhappy throughout, despite having the entire town as her suitors, she ultimately only finds a semblance of love in the grotesque form of her paternal pimp Schukert, played with devilish panache by Mario Adorf.

A warped, psychedelic love story and layered portrayal of corrupt and revolutionary post-war 1950s West Germany, looking stunning in this Blu-ray home entertainment version of the new 4k restoration, Lola is still as experimental today as it was back in 1981.


released on DVD, Blu-ray and EST on July 3.

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