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In post-war West Germany, the charming Von Bohm is appointed a city's new Building Commissioner. His morality is tested when he unknowingly falls in love with a brothel worker, Lola, the paid mistress of a corrupt property developer.

  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder
  • Rialto Film
  • Trio Film
  • Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)
It's been over ten years since the end of WWII, and the West German economy is booming largely due to reconstruction. Straight-laced, refined, wealthy and regimented von Bohm is hired by Mayor Völker as the new Building Commissioner in his West German city, von Bohm new to the city. Kleinermans, von Bohm's predecessor, ran a lax, undisciplined building department, resulting in the major shrewd contractors, especially Schuckert, being able to sneak and bribe their way into building whatever they want. Schuckert's activities are despite Kleinermans and now von Bohm's assistant, Esslin, never having agreed with what is happening in the construction business in the city. Usually reserved von Bohm quickly falls for a young woman he meets named Marie-Louise. He is unaware of two fundamental aspects of her being. First, she is the daughter of the faithful Prussian housekeeper he has just hired, Frau Kummer. And second, although being a classically trained singer, Marie-Louise works largely as Lola, a performer at a sleazy cabaret, where the women also ply their trade upstairs at the whorehouse. Most of the bureaucrats and elected officials, including Esslin and Mayor Völker, know Lola as they frequent the cabaret and whorehouse, Esslin who even works as a drummer in the cabaret's band. Lola is largely married Schuckert's kept woman, he the biological father of Lola's now adolescent daughter, Marie, of which he is aware. Like most of her fellow whores, Lola doesn't much like her life, she yearning for respectability. She doesn't like false artifice, as she is ashamed of her own double life. As such, Marie-Louise dreams of a life with von Bohm, she and Esslin the only two people who know the entire situation between her and von Bohm. The question becomes what the repercussions are if von Bohm finds out about her life as Lola, those repercussions not only on their relationship but also the nature of the construction business in the city.


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