Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

1974 [GERMAN]

Action / Drama / Romance

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Rainer Werner Fassbinder Photo
Rainer Werner Fassbinder as Eugen, Krista's husband
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
856.97 MB
German 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 33 min
P/S 0 / 2
1.55 GB
German 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 33 min
P/S 2 / 8

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by boblipton8 / 10

Today's Lessons

What I learned today:

1: There are parents who permit their children to walk on the streets of Manhattan dressed in shorts and a t-shirt that reads "L. A. State of Mind". I had no idea that there was such a thing as an L. A. State of Mind or, indeed, a mind there, but I could be mistaken. I do think it reckless to advertise the fact in Manhattan.

2: Young people in New York now saunter. In my understanding of things, this is a dangerous thing to do, since it indicates that you have no life, no obligations, nothing that would keep you on the hop. Besides, you might be shot in a gang war. However, they do this on 9th Avenue, which makes me think they are hookers.

3: You need to be a genius to open a box if you work at the Apple Store on 9th Avenue and 14th Street. However, even if you are not a genius, you can still give away $20 worth of merchandise and be surprised when the would-be customer hesitates. Apparently at the Apple store, only geniuses understand commercial transactions.

4: Fassbender's Angst essen Seele auf (1974; aka Ali: Fear Eats the Soul) is a fine movie about what happens when an elderly, widowed German cleaning lady gets married to a young Moroccan man. However, it probably would have been even better if co-star El Hedi ben Salem had been a better actor and not Fassbender's lover.

Reviewed by Horst_In_Translation8 / 10

Still relevant after all those years

"Angst essen Seele auf" or "Fear Eats the Soul" is a German movie from over 40 years ago written and directed by one of the most controversial filmmakers of the 1970s, Rainer Werner Fassbinder. This is probably my favorite work from him, even if I like "Martha" a lot as well. This one here is probably also the film of his that is the most accessible in terms of the contents. It is a very human tale. A lady in her early 60s falls in love with an immigrant 25 younger than her and we watch their struggles for most of the film. The struggles, however, have nothing to do with the relationship itself, but all come from the outside with the despicable reactions from neighbors, colleagues and even family.

The movie only runs for slightly over 90 minutes, so it is among Fassbinder's shorter works, but that takes nothing from how effective it is. You can easily divide it into two parts as almost everything changes when they return from a holiday that makes me think what exactly happened during that holiday. Mira's character has turned almost into one of the people she despised before because of their approach to the whole matter of falling in love with an immigrant. As a consequence, Ali withdraws considerably from her and has sex with the woman he slept with before he met the old woman. The ending is uplifting again, at least in terms of their relationship. It would not be Fassbinder if everything was happy again for everybody, so another tragic even occurs, one that puts a severe question mark on the whole matter of age being in the way of love. A great statement by the filmmaker and I also liked his approach on the idea that Mira's character's love can still exist and how it does not matter to her (or him) that he slept with somebody else. It's not about other people they are seeing. It is about the respect they have for one another and there are really sad scenes about said respect involving couscous and Ali's colleagues beforehand.

"Angst essen Seele auf" won an award in Cannes and it also gave Brigitte Mira a German Film Award for her excellent portrayal. No offense to El Hedi ben Salem, but he was mostly memorable in here through his physical presence and not through great acting. Mira carries the film from start to finish. The supporting actors play their parts well too, obviously helped through Fassbinder's excellent script. The scenes with her colleagues (first with her being the victim, then with somebody else being the victim and her being one of the offenders),at the little shop next door (including the legendary Walter Sedlmayer) or also at the pub and with her family were all mesmerizing to watch. Fassbinder himself plays one of the supporting characters as well, as often the case in his films. He is also a gifted actor. The male lead was played by his then-boyfriend. Sadly the two split up not much later and El Hedi ben Salem died only 2 years after this film an untimely death just like Fassbinder's in the early 80s. This adds another interesting note to the film as Mira lived for 3 more decades and died way into her 90s only 10 years ago.

All in all, this film is a great way to start Fassbinder in my opinion if you want to watch some of his works. It's certainly an easier watch than almost all of his other works. The action is very dialogue-driven, but the contents in terms of what happens still bring lots of significance and gravity. I am glad this film received the recognition it did back then and is still considered one of the best German films from the 1970s these days. Of course, I cannot say for sure how exaggerated the xenophobia in this movie is or if it was really like that in the 1970s as I was not yet born back then, but even in the unlikely event that it may not be 100% accurate from a historic perspective, it is so well-written and a truly outstanding character study down to the less significant characters. I highly recommend checking it out, especially in the face of the refugee situation in Germany right now. A must-see.

Reviewed by MartinHafer8 / 10

excellent but with one glaring problem

There was so much I liked about this film and it's an interesting glimpse into the German psyche only three decades after WWII. I would have expected more tolerance and less outright bigotry considering the racism that lead to the holocaust. However, seething just beneath the surface was a lot of hostility towards the relationship between eh two main characters. Sure, some of it may have been due to the extreme age difference, but the vast majority of the hate spewed towards them seems like pure racism.

I liked Fassbinder's choice of the female lead. She was FAR from the older but still beautiful lead played in the original picture. Briditte Mira is not even close to being as pretty or sophisticated as Jane Wyman. Instead, she kinda looked like my grandmother looked in 1975. While this in some ways strained the credibility of the relationship (and was personally kinda creepy for me),it was very refreshing to see an ordinary and not especially attractive woman falling in love.

However, despite the originality injected into an older script, the movie had one major flaw. While it didn't ruin the film, it did take it from a 10 to an 8 in the rating. The character of Ali (played by El Hedi ben Salem) was practically a zombie through much of the film and showed almost no emotional range. His performance was far from just being underplayed. My wife thought perhaps he was portraying someone who was mentally retarded, though I don't think this was the intention.

I would love to see a remake of this film--updating the story and using a male lead who has something MORE than his age to offer.

FYI--a note to parents: there are several nude scenes and you get to see A LOT of Ali. Be aware of this when allowing your teens to view the film. If they were just edited out (as they were not necessary for the plot),this would be a great film for teens as it brings up a lot of interesting topics for discussion.

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