Courses > 2005 Fall


CINE 050 - Looking for Lola

GRMN 001
401 Simon Richter | MW 2-3:30pm

We all know about Eve and Mary, two names that readily designate opposite relations to masculinity and sexuality. But what about Lola? Beginning in the early twentieth century, the name of Lola has gripped the imagination of directors and screenwriters and launched a cinematic tradition. The name is certainly based on Lola Montez, a nineteenth-century British woman of humble origins who used her sexuality and prevaricating charm to rise to worldwide renown as an erotic dancer and the lover of composers (Lizst) and kings (Ludwig of Bavaria), leaving disaster in her wake. Ever since Marlene Dietrich's seductive role as Lola Lola, the risqué nightclub entertainer in Joseph Sternberg's scandalous Blue Angel (1930), the name Lola has specified the realm of the quintessential vamp. In this course we will explore the cinematic femininity, sexuality and gender associated with the name Lola (and its close cousins Lulu and Lolita). We will encounter Lolas of ambiguous, precocious, calculating, and irresistible sexuality: a Turkish-German transvestite, a sexual nymph, a schemer during Germany's economic miracle, and a man-killer eventually slain by Jack the Ripper. What is remarkable about the films associated with Lola is that each discovers her anew and contributes to a complex nexus of issues involving sexuality, pleasure, knowledge, and power, far more interesting, in the final analysis, than the alternatives of Mary and Eve.