8.1/10
15,568
51 user 107 critic

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1973)

Angst essen Seele auf (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama , Romance | 5 June 1974 (France)
An almost accidental romance is kindled between a German woman in her mid-sixties and a Moroccan migrant worker around twenty-five years younger. They abruptly decide to marry, appalling everyone around them.
Reviews

Watch Now

From $3.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A World War II widow seeks to adjust to life in postwar Germany.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Hanna Schygulla, Klaus Löwitsch, Ivan Desny
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young West German working-class man wins the lottery and initiates a relationship with a man above his social standing.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Peter Chatel, Karlheinz Böhm
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An arrogant fashion designer falls in love with an icy beauty who wants to be a model.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Margit Carstensen, Hanna Schygulla, Katrin Schaake
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Hans Epp is a self-destructive man who lives a dissatisfied life. He tries to find meaning as a fruit vendor, but a heart attack impedes his ability to work, which turns his dissatisfaction into despair.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Hans Hirschmüller, Irm Hermann, Hanna Schygulla
Katzelmacher (1969)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Jorgos, a migrant worker from Greece, joins a group of young people in Munich usually hanging around. This foreigner incites hostility and jealousy among them, and he is insulted as a "... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Hanna Schygulla, Lilith Ungerer, Rudolf Waldemar Brem
Veronika Voss (1982)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A washed up UFA actress, kept by her doctor, raises suspicion in a sports journalist.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Rosel Zech, Hilmar Thate, Cornelia Froboess
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Both the parents of a young teen who walks with crutches, goes on each their secret meeting with lovers, both surprising each other at the family's county home. The daughter arrives and initiates a guessing game of "Chinese roulette".

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Anna Karina, Margit Carstensen, Brigitte Mira
Lola (1981)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In post-war West Germany, the charming Von Bohm is appointed a city's new Building Commissioner. His morality is tested when he unknowingly falls in love with a brothel worker, Lola, the paid mistress of a corrupt property developer.

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Barbara Sukowa, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Mario Adorf
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

On a film set there are two things missing, the film material and the director. So the actors and actresses as well as the crew try to make the best out of the situation. When the director ... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Lou Castel, Eddie Constantine, Marquard Bohm
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In the nineteenth century, seventeen year old Effi Briest is married to the older Baron von Instetten and moves into a house, that she believes has a ghost, in a small isolated Baltic town.... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Hanna Schygulla, Wolfgang Schenck, Ulli Lommel
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Unusual gangster story, in which a small-time pimp Franz, who is torn between his mistress and Bruno the gangster sent after him by the syndicate that he has refused to join. Things are ... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Ulli Lommel, Hanna Schygulla, Katrin Schaake
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

This drama follows the last few days in the life of Elvira (formerly Erwin) Weisshaupt. Years before, Erwin told a co-worker, Anton, that he loved him. "Too bad, you aren't a woman," he ... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Volker Spengler, Ingrid Caven, Gottfried John
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Brigitte Mira ... Emmi
El Hedi ben Salem ... Ali
Irm Hermann ... Krista
Elma Karlowa ... Mrs. Kargus
Anita Bucher Anita Bucher ... Mrs. Ellis
Gusti Kreissl Gusti Kreissl ... Paula
Doris Mattes Doris Mattes ... Mrs. Angermeyer (as Doris Mathes)
Margit Symo ... Hedwig
Katharina Herberg Katharina Herberg ... Girl in bar
Lilo Pempeit Lilo Pempeit ... Mrs. Münchmeyer
Peter Gauhe Peter Gauhe ... Bruno Kurowski
Marquard Bohm ... Gruber
Walter Sedlmayr Walter Sedlmayr ... Angermayer
Hannes Gromball Hannes Gromball ... Waiter
Hark Bohm Hark Bohm ... Doctor
Edit

Storyline

Emmi, a German woman in her mid-sixties, falls in love with Ali, a Moroccan immigrant worker around twenty-five years younger. When they abruptly decide to marry, everyone around them seems appalled. When the folks calm down a bit, Emmi and Ali's relationship grows uncertain. Written by Oliver Heidelbach

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

West Germany

Language:

German | Arabic

Release Date:

5 June 1974 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

DEM 260,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was shot in only 14 days See more »

Quotes

Girl in bar: Well... are you coming?
Ali: No.
Girl in bar: And why not?
Ali: Cock broken.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the introductory credits there is the line: Das Glück ist nicht immer lustig (Happiness is not always fun) See more »

Connections

Referenced in Kolle - Ein Leben für Liebe und Sex (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Du Schwarzer Zigeuner (Cikánka)
Written by Karel Vacek
Performed by R.A. Dvorský
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Sad. True. Beautiful.
13 August 2003 | by RWiggumSee all my reviews

Munich, in the mid-70s: She enters the exotic bar because it's raining and maybe because she's a little curious what this place with that strange music is like. He asks her for a dance because his friends tell him to do so. He accompanies her home. He stays for the night. The fall in love. They marry.

All that sounds like your average Hollywood romance. But that's only half the story of 'Fear Eats the Soul'. Here's the other half: She, Emmi Kurowski, is a 60 year old, widowed cleaner, mother of three married children. He, Ali, is a black foreign worker from Morocco, 20 years younger than her, speaking a rather bad German (a more faithful translation of the German original title 'Angst essen Seele auf', a quote from Ali, would be 'Fear Eat Soul'). This film is not a cheesy romance, it is the story of two people who love each other and struggle with the rest of the world to be accepted.

But the people around them have problems. The neighbors are talking about them, Emmi's colleagues ignore her, the merchant refuses to serve them, and Emmi's children don't want to understand it - her son Bruno even destroys the TV set in his anger.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder is arguably the greatest German director ever, and with more than 40 films, TV series, TV films plus 16 theater plays he wrote, directed and often also (co-)starred in in a career that lasted only a mere 15 years, he is certainly one of the most efficient directors in film history. His best films are a criticism of German society after World War II by simple, but memorable stories with very well observed characters. And 'Fear Eats the Soul' displays Fassbinder's qualities best. In very simple shots (facial expressions, the use doors to stress the loneliness of his characters), he makes this films very emotional.

The film is sometimes described as naive. That's wrong. Maybe it is naive to believe that a 60 year old widow and a black 40 year old worker will fall in love. But the rest is as well-observed as a film can be: The fact that people's reactions change when they realize that it's easier to accept them and take advantage of them. That Emmi eagerly joins her colleagues as soon as they have found a new victim. That Ali goes to the waitress of his bar to get the two things Emmi can't give him - sex and his favorite dish.

And then the film has some amazing acting. But from the entire cast, Brigitte Mira as Emmi Kurowski stands out. Actually a comedic actress, she shines in this drama as a woman who struggles for acceptance. Her speech outside a restaurant, when all the waiters stare at them but don't serve them, is heartbreaking, her entire performance is unforgettable.

At first sight, 'Fear Eats the Soul' is a small, simple romantic film. But look closer and you'll see it is so much more, it is a comment on subliminal prejudices and selfishness. It shows what a film can do, even if its budget is tiny, if it only believes in the power of its story.


84 of 92 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 51 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed