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

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



Critic 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.

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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 Fassbinder's personal heroes) won the international critic's prize at the Cannes Film Festival. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
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Irm Hermann
as Krista
Peter Gauhe
as Bruno
Liselotte Eder
as Mrs. Munchmeyer
Marquard Bohm
as Gruber
Walter Sedlmayr
as Angermayer
Karl Scheydt
as Albert
Show More Cast

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

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (6)

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.

Full Review… | June 3, 2014
New Yorker
Top 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.

Full Review… | May 25, 2011
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | June 25, 2008
Top 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.

Full Review… | January 25, 2006
Time Out
Top 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.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 22, 2002
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

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


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 Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

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.

Michael S
Michael S

Super Reviewer

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 Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

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