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


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

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.



Total Count: 35


Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,426
User image

Watch it now

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

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 Fassbinder's personal heroes) won the international critic's prize at the Cannes Film Festival. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


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

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (35)

  • The performances of Brigitte Mira and El Hedi Ben Salem as Emmi and Ali are superb; they act with instant sympathy and charm and in their own way, they are the most purely lovable characters I have ever seen on a movie screen.

    Mar 30, 2017 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Fassbinder made so many incredible films, but this is certainly up there with his finest.

    Mar 30, 2017 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • One of the most beautiful films ever made, plain and simple.

    Mar 27, 2017 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jun 3, 2014 | Full Review…
  • 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…
  • Technically flawless, deceptively simple and avoiding excesses, it is about problems that are timely and timeless in implications.

    Jun 26, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic

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

  • Aug 08, 2013
    A delicate and deeply resonant 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.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 10, 2013
    This is my introduction to Fassibender and I will be watching more of his films. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul revolves around a romance between an elderly widow and an Arab foreign worker. It's filmed and set in Germany. Much like interracial marriages were looked at in the US it was frowned upon. The story is simplistic, the film never moves out of a realistic view point. While the ideas were depressing I never actually felt any emotion. I don't know why, the acting was genuine enough, and the story had me gripped. Even during the family meeting I didn't feel anything, emotionally I wasn't present. While I liked what the ending thirty minutes did, I don't think it was executed perfectly. It was to sudden, I wouldn't have minded an additional thirty minutes of footage to make it more evened out. This is still a phenomenal film considering how little it revolves around. Tension was always boiling, and the story had me gripped. You don't have to be adventurous to enjoy this, so I recommend it to everyone. 3.5 stars+
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Apr 03, 2012
    Aesthetically amazing. The cinematography makes it interesting to watch and the performances of Ali and Emma are perfect. The film is devoid of any contrived or melodramatic emotion. It moves forward calmly. The ending is a little hard to absorb because it ends oddly, but that is in touch with the rest of the film. Fassbinder alienates and yet manipulates the viewer's emotion extremely well. Astonishing how much subtext is in the film, I was watching something and thinking about it at the same time throughout the entire film. Strange and raw film which comments on racism but in a very organic and effective manner.
    G S Super Reviewer
  • Oct 18, 2011
    For sure in my all time top 5. The first time I watched this I was glued to the screen. It totally took me by surprise. The scene where Fassbinder cameos as the son-in-law objecting to the relationship is perfect.
    Graham J Super Reviewer

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

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features