Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, 1974 (still); image: courtesy Janus Films

Film

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

Part of Modern Cinema: Sparks on Celluloid

Selected by Todd Haynes

“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.”
— Criterion.com

“The entire movie is constructed, both formally and in its content, around looking. The amazing thing that this does in the movie is that it freezes both parties — the looker and the lookee — in the look and it sets them in these very rigid positions that [Fassbinder] uses both dramatically and aesthetically.”
— Todd Haynes, Criterion interview

“A masterpiece…not to be missed.”
— Andrew Sarris, The Village Voice



Film Details

Country: Germany
Language: German
Year: 1974
Running time: 93 min
Format: 35mm
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Screenwriter: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Producer: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Cinematographer: Jürgen Jürges
Editor: Thea Eymèsz
Print Source: Janus Films


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