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Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

Released Oct 5, 1974 1h 34m Romance Drama List
100% Tomatometer 41 Reviews 91% Audience Score 5,000+ Ratings Emmi Kurowski (Brigitte Mira), a cleaning lady, is lonely in her old age. Her husband died years ago, and her grown children offer little companionship. One night she goes to a bar frequented by Arab immigrants and strikes up a friendship with middle-aged mechanic Ali (El Hedi ben Salem). Their relationship soon develops into something more, and Emmi's family and neighbors criticize their spontaneous marriage. Soon Emmi and Ali are forced to confront their own insecurities about their future. Read More Read Less

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Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

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Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

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Critics Consensus

Regarded as one of the high-water marks in German New Wave cinema of the 1970s, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is at once an intense portrayal of a relationship and a tribute to one of Rainer Werner Fassbinder's film heroes, Douglas Sirk.

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Critics Reviews

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Adam Kempenaar Filmspotting In All That Heaven Allows, it’s ‘only’ class that divides them. That’s part of its elegance - and potency. Fassbinder amplifies all of the oppressive forces that conspire against this couple without compromising either. Rated: 4.5/5 Apr 18, 2023 Full Review Tony Rayns Sight & Sound Like Rainer Werner Fassbinder's other recent imitations of life, Fear Eats the Soul... achieves a remarkable balance between stylisation and realism. Apr 1, 2020 Full Review Tara Brady Irish Times It even manages something like a happy ending without sugar-coating the still poignantly relevant themes.Timely and heartbreaking, some 43 years after its debut. Rated: 5/5 Apr 26, 2017 Full Review Becky Kukla Vague Visages Though perhaps not perfect, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is by far Fassbinder’s most authentic and human work. Aug 7, 2023 Full Review Josh Larsen LarsenOnFilm ...a movie that seems to have given up on the very idea of genuine human connection, even as it aches for exactly that. Rated: 3/4 Apr 6, 2023 Full Review Jan Shorter Gay Community News (Boston) Fear Eats the Soul is full of Fassbinder’s intriguing theatrical camera work. His sensitivity to the theater, where his experience lies, brings the film an unexpected immediacy. Sep 8, 2022 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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Mohamed K A haunting and emotionally resonant exploration of love, loneliness, and the corrosive effects of prejudice in post-war Germany. Drawing inspiration from Douglas Sirk's melodramas, Fassbinder crafts a deeply affecting narrative that transcends its specific cultural context to speak to universal themes of human connection and societal oppression. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 05/12/24 Full Review LAZI S What an amazing and forelooking movie. Was shoot in 1974. Can't image. The anthem of against any kind of phobia and prejudice!!!!!! Rated 5 out of 5 stars 03/03/24 Full Review Blob 9 There are not many love stories revolving around May December relationships, but when they are made there is nothing else like it; unique, engrossing, sad and beautiful. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 01/23/24 Full Review Dave S On the surface, Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Ali: Fear Eats the Soul has a cold and austere look and feel to it, typical of Fassbinder's body of work. However, once you delve into it, there is an undeniable warmth that is generated primarily by its smart script and interesting premise. Emmi (Brigitte Mira) is an aging widow, abandoned by her children and working an unsatisfying job as a cleaner. Ali (El Hedi ben Salem) is a young Moroccan immigrant who lives with five other men in a small apartment and spends his time with a small group of friends in a neighborhood bar. When the two start a romantic relationship and eventually marry, they find themselves further isolated in a xenophobic world. While it is emotional and touching, it wisely avoids being nauseatingly sentimental. The accolades heaped on it may be a bit excessive, but it remains a stark and moving film about the power of human connections and the hatred that sometimes exists outside of these connections. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 10/28/23 Full Review Jim V One of the most moving films I've ever seen; Fassbinder's masterpiece in my opinion. I can't imagine anyone watching this not being amazed and horrified at the subtle ways in which we love and destroy each other, sometimes without reflection, as lovers and as friends. If you love (or even like) movies you must watch this. Rated 5 out of 5 stars 10/05/22 Full Review andrew m Masterwork from Fassbender with strong performances. Great sets and beautifully composed shots and editing as well as colour. Great screenplay highlighting racism but also the pragmatic/cynical reasons why people may move on. A heavy subject but it is also funny in places, entertaining and tight so it never drags. Sadly still relevant today. Good remastering available thanks to the Fassbender Institute. Don't let the subject put you off. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 01/21/22 Full Review Read all reviews
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

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Movie Info

Synopsis Emmi Kurowski (Brigitte Mira), a cleaning lady, is lonely in her old age. Her husband died years ago, and her grown children offer little companionship. One night she goes to a bar frequented by Arab immigrants and strikes up a friendship with middle-aged mechanic Ali (El Hedi ben Salem). Their relationship soon develops into something more, and Emmi's family and neighbors criticize their spontaneous marriage. Soon Emmi and Ali are forced to confront their own insecurities about their future.
Director
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Producer
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Distributor
New Yorker Films
Production Co
Filmverlag der Autoren
Genre
Romance, Drama
Original Language
German
Release Date (Theaters)
Oct 5, 1974, Wide
Release Date (Streaming)
Mar 11, 2017
Runtime
1h 34m
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