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Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder • 1974 • West Germany
Starring Brigitte Mira, El Hedi ben Salem, Barbara Valentin
The wildly prolific German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder paid homage to his cinematic hero Douglas Sirk with this update of that filmmaker’s 1955 ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS. A lonely widow (Brigitte Mira) meets a much younger Arab worker (El Hedi ben Salem) in a bar during a rainstorm. They fall in love, to their own surprise—and to the outright shock of their families, colleagues, and drinking buddies. In ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL, Fassbinder expertly wields the emotional power of classic Hollywood melodrama to expose the racial tensions underlying contemporary German culture.