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Angst Essen Seele auf (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul)

Angst Essen Seele auf (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul) (1974)



Average Rating: 9.1/10
Reviews Counted: 23
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 0

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.


Average Rating: 10/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 0

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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Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 6,072

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Movie Info

Rainer Werner Fassbinder not only directed Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Angst essen Seele auf), but also scripted the film, designed the sets, and produced. Brigitte Mira heads the cast as a lonely German cleaning woman, who enters into an affair with equally lonely--and much, much younger--Moroccan mechanic El Hedi Ben Salem. They marry, despite the shocked, bigoted reactions of those around them. This thinly disguised remake of Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Allows (cult favorite Sirk was one of



Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Jun 10, 2003

New Yorker Films

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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (0) | DVD (7)

Fassbinder's historicism is a crucial aspect of his modernism: he didn't just make use of prior forms, he quoted them, and derived from them the ironies implicit in his melodramatic styles.

June 3, 2014 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This 1974 film stands as one of Fassbinder's sturdiest achievements, posed between the low-budget funkiness of his early features and the mannerism of his late period.

May 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Technically flawless, deceptively simple and avoiding excesses, it is about problems that are timely and timeless in implications.

June 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Fassbinder uses dramatic and visual excess to push everyday events to extremes, achieving a degree of political and psychological truth not accessible through mere social realism.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is, rather, another quite courageous attempt by Mr. Fassbinder to develop a film style free of the kind of realistic conventions that sentimentalize life's mysteries.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul might sound like improbable, contrived soap opera. It doesn't play that way.

January 22, 2002 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie operates in passages of such raw and resonating veracity that they seem almost too stark to be in a movie.

August 6, 2013 Full Review Source:

"Ali: Fear Eats the Soul" is a timeless examination of the insidious effects of prejudice and racism on relationships.

March 5, 2013 Full Review Source:

A powerful attempt to deal with a range of serious issues as well as the characters' own complex psychologies. Visually and dramatically intense, it remains one of Fassbinder's finest.

May 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Film4

Affecting and moving drama that really explores the selfish nature behind human actions.

May 25, 2011 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Manages to be both more clinical and more humane than Martha

September 6, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

A mordant satire that's also a touching romance and a powerful indictment of prejudice.

September 18, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Fassbinder made this one on the cheap between bigger projects and scored with a beautifully observed, and even oddly gentle tale.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

A simple and powerful film of great and quiet beauty.

January 21, 2004 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

A chilling tale about bias.

November 17, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Many of Fassbinder's best films possess a kind of cosmic balance. No one character or belief rises above another without the other shoe dropping.

September 27, 2003 Full Review Source:

Ali's terse speaking matter is ripe with aphorisms, but it's also another way for Fassbinder to evoke the suspended animation of his character's lives.

August 31, 2003 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

A movie that's simple and honest. It plays universally and feels particularly relevent in 21st century America.

July 22, 2003 Full Review

If this were the only film Fassbinder ever made, it would still be one of the great works of cinema. It's only the brilliance and scope of his work both before and after this film that keep me from declaring it his unqualified masterpiece.

July 5, 2003 Full Review Source: Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

One of Fassbinder's crown jewels, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is as powerful as any film he ever made, despite its pedestrian premise.

November 28, 2002 Full Review Source:

Fassbinder is not interested in offering simple solutions to his character's woes or depicting their decision making as consistent. The impact of Fear Eats the Soul lies in the way all of the characters are shown to be fallible and flawed.

January 22, 2002 Full Review Source: Senses of Cinema
Senses of Cinema

Audience Reviews for Angst Essen Seele auf (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul)

Very touching movie. Emmi is one of the great screen heroines.
December 1, 2007

Super Reviewer

A delicate and deeply resonating melodrama like only Fassbinder could have made, telling with plenty of honesty a simple but objective love story centered on revolting matters like prejudice and racism - problems relevant even today when it comes to immigrants in Europe.
August 8, 2013

Super Reviewer

Fear Eats the Soul is Fassbinder at his most accessible and probably most important. Brigitte Mira and El Hedi ben Salem's performances are cinematic gold in a film that not only highlights racial prejudices but also that of age and culture and the hypocrisies of bigoted society. I don't understand how a film like the wonderful Harold & Maude can change opinion of unconditional love but Fear eats the Soul hasn't. Nearly 40 years on and sadly not much has changed as far as attitude. Compare the power of the story with the simplicity of the film along with it's timelessness and what you have here is a true masterpiece of cinema.
August 1, 2012

Super Reviewer

One of cinema's most unconventional love stories is also one of the most touching and authentic I've ever seen. A simple and sweet little triumph from Fassbinder, with Brigitte Mira giving a completely unforgettable performance.
March 27, 2012

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Angst essen Seele auf (DE)
  • Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Angst essen Seele auf) (UK)
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