Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder • 1974 • West Germany

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.

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Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
  • Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

    Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder • 1974 • West Germany

    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 worke...

Extras

  • Todd Haynes on Rainer Werner Fassbinder

    In this interview, conducted in Portland, Oregon, in 2003, director Todd Haynes discusses the influence of filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder on his work, and the influence of director Douglas Sirk on them both.

  • Angst Isst Seele Auf

    Directed by Shahbaz Noshir • 2002 • Germany

    Director Shahbaz Noshir’s 2002 film about an encounter with prejudice is titled ANGST ISST SEELE AUF (FEAR EATS THE SOUL), a grammatically correct version of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1974 film ANGST ESSEN SEELE AUF (FEAR EAT SOUL). It has the same le...

  • Brigitte Mira on ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL

    Brigitte Mira’s acting career spanned more than six decades and included such films as Werner Herzog’s THE ENIGMA OF KASPAR HAUSER and Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s SATAN’S BREW and ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL. This interview with her was conducted in Berlin in 2003.

  • Thea Eymèsz on Rainer Werner Fassbinder

    ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL editor Thea Eymèsz worked with director Rainer Werner Fassbinder on sixteen of his films, beginning with 1969’s GODS OF THE PLAGUE and ending with 1976’s SATAN’S BREW. In the following interview, conducted in her Munich apartment in 2003, Eymèsz talks for the first time on...

  • The Stripped-Down Style of ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL

    Professor Jeff Smith illustrates how Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s deliberate blocking and tableau compositions accentuate the social divisions that crisscross his 1974 masterpiece.

  • From THE AMERICAN SOLDIER (1970)

    In 1973, filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder wrote: “I had already used the story [of ALI: FEAR EATS THE SOUL] in a film once. It was actually in THE AMERICAN SOLDIER, where it was told by a chambermaid in a long sequence where the girl sits on a bed.” That sequence, featuring actor Margarethe von...