The wildly prolific German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder paid homage to his cinematic hero Douglas Sirk with this update of that filmmaker's All That Heaven Allows (1955). 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.
Written by Philemon Wahba
Performed by Sabah See more »
Is it love?
First of all, this film has definitely the best (German) movie title ever. It loses much of its power when it's translated but in German it is absolutely fascinating.
On the other hand, Fassbinder's movies and especially this one are not untranslatable, which is positive. The story about a love (is it?) between two people of different age and origin is universal and, though set in a very xenophobe and intolerant Germany, should be understood by everybody all over the world. Fassbinder is a master in guiding his actors so they can they play naturally and believably without using a particular local accent or slang that is probably more realistic.
I do not completely agree with the film's utterly pessimistic view on practically all the characters in the movie; I think his portray of contemporary society is a little bit exaggerated (and it was even twenty-five years ago). However, I acknowledge that by means of exaggerating like this, Fassbinder makes his criticism clear and evokes a particularly bad feeling (of guilt?) in the viewer's belly. While the story is rather sad, it includes a lot of (sarcastic) side-swipes on society as it is.
Angst essen Seele auf (oh, this is a marvellous title!) is maybe a more silent version of Harold and Maude; more silent but not less interesting.
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