The meanest star turn in this film is offered by Rosel Zech, a real late period Fassbinder favourite. If there is one character that you want to punch, smother and scream at in Lola, it is the amazingly acerbic Frau Schuckert. You wouldn’t even notice that this character was played by Rosel Zech, so jaw-dropping horrible is she. Frau Schuckert is unhappy, censorious, rude, racist and is above all the master of the bourgeois put-down; the classic here being: ‘the refuges seem to have brought a lot of new dishes with them,’ referring to Lola’s mother’s dinner party fare.
Her first words in the film are to declare as bored and untruthfully as she can; ‘Oh God I am so full,’ when Frau Kummer the hostess she hates the mostest, declares that it is rice puddings and plums for dessert. She declares poor Lola’s mother’s dinner party as ‘experimental’. Amusingly throughout the short dinner scene, Frau Kummer is not allowed to speak for herself. It is a brilliant small part, played coldly, firmly, and the fact that everybody puts up with this woman’s constant vitriol makes it funny too.
As often with Fassbinder, there is so little time in which to portray so much, and she does it well. This is what makes a character like this a success, in the hands of such a capable actress. In her short moody appearances, we even feel sorry for the unpleasant woman that Rosel Zech plays; unloved by her husband, she is going to have to resort to something to amuse herself, so why not this constant unpleasantness. We also establish the fine degrees of definition the bourgeois go ion for, and this is very funny. She thinks that her successful husband is a peasant at heart, although she is the real carrier of ignorance and emotional poverty at least. She shares a fabulous scene with Mario Adorf in which thyey are stopped by the police on the way home (the blue police lights in the night making a grand opportunity for a little more Fassbinder lilac lighting). What is great here is how much she wants her husband to be arrested, and how frustrated she is that it doesn’t happen and that she must return to her quest for proof that she is better than him; that’s what the bourgeois want, nicht wehr?