Lola is one of the last movies made by the prolific and talented German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder; he died in June, 1982. The setting is a corrupt small town in West Germany during the 1950s. Schukert (Mario Adorf), a prosperous building contractor, is at the heart of a city hall scheme to make some big money off land they have purchased over the years. His project is nearly thwarted by Von Bohn (Armin Mueller-Stahl), the newly appointed commissioner who is very proper and morally upright.

Most of the town's politicians and businessmen frequent the local cabaret where Lola (Barbara Sukowa) is a prostitute and featured entertainer. She is Schukert's mistress and the mother of his illegitimate child. The aristocratic Von Bohn, a violinist in his spare time and one of the first citizens of the community to purchase a television, falls in love with Lola after he kisses her hand at one of his public appearances. Since her goal is to join the respectable upper class, she never reveals her profession. Lola plays Von Bohn as an instrument and incarnates the fantasy women he sees on his television.

Fassbinder meticulously and effectively conveys the fog of amorality and immorality which hovers over this community's social, political and economic proceedings. Lola sells her body and uses Von Bohn in the same way Schukert uses her. Everybody in the story except the Marxist Esslin (Matthias Fuchs), one of the commissioner's friends, has a price — commercial values reign in all departments of life. Lola is a very well acted film which showcases Fassbinder's laser-sharp social consciousness and his refusal to sentimentalize or sanitize the world's oldest profession.