• Post category:Movies
  • Post last modified:May 6, 2021

Ali – Fear Eats the Soul

60-year-old cleaning woman Emmi Kurowski (Brigitte Mira) meets a thirtysomething Moroccan guest worker (El Hedi ben Salem) in a bar; after a short time, Emmi announces to her children that she’s getting married… The film that really introduced Rainer Werner Fassbinder on the international stage is more or less a remake of All That Heaven Allows (1955) and a tribute to Douglas Sirk in general. Portraying a deeply racist Germany, Fassbinder cast his lover as the brawny Ali and subjects the couple to an endless barrage of naked hatred. But after a while, the drama takes an interesting turn as the racism becomes more subtle and insidious. Also a touching story about loneliness; Mira is terrific.

1974-West Germany. 94 min. Color. Written and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Cast: Brigitte Mira (Emmi Kurowski), El Hedi ben Salem (Ali), Barbara Valentin (Barbara), Irm Hermann, Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

Trivia: Original title: Angst essen Seele auf.

Last word: “[‘In Fear Eats the Soul’] it’s just a matter of a similar story; the films [along with ‘All That Heaven Allows’] are products of different circumstances. Sirk’s is a kind of fairytale; mine is too, but one from everyday life. Sirk had the courage simply to tell the story. I probably didn’t trust myself simply to do that. But I’d been wanting to do it for years… I didn’t have an actress for it until I met Brigitte Mira and realised that she could do it. It’s a story of two people who are in practically the same situation, who have much the same motives for repressing themselves.” (Fassbinder, Sight and Sound)



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