Angst Essen Seele auf (Ali: Fear Eats the Soul) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

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

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November 29, 2016
I was very surprised and impressed by this film. It's a remake of sorts of Douglas Sirk's "All The Heaven Allows" and a precursor to Todd Haynes' "Far From Heaven". At first, I wasn't that impressed with the look for the film, and I found the performances somewhat stilted, but as the story continued i was drawn in more and more and started to take more notice of the technical achievements. The framing is excellent and there was a few camera movements that really impressed me, particularly a shot at an outside cafe. By the end, I was completely floored by this film. I very highly recommend it, and would suggest watching "All That Heaven Allows" first, though it isn't necessary. This is a must watch for serious film buffs!
½ November 9, 2016
It would be better without the moralising, but still very good.
½ October 18, 2016
Fassbinder's most important film for a number of reasons. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul was instantly controversial upon its release in Germany due to its commentary on racism, and the film is as passionate as it is enraged. The bi-racial couple played by Brigitte Mira and El Hedi ben Salem (the latter being Fassbinder's lover at the time), expose a complex relationship that's problems reflect social issues of the day and age. Its views can certainly be upsetting, but the film never comes off as anything less than sincere, and at a snug hour-and-a-half running time the film is fully digestible while communicating what it needs. A high water-mark for international melodrama.
September 20, 2016
Feat Eats the Soul is a penetrating picture of an unlikely relationship - the form seems ripe for some Hollywood melodrama, but Mr. Fassbinder, leading the German New Wave, directs with social truths, endearing simplicity, and great restraint.
July 10, 2016
A romance kindles between an aging, widowed cleaning woman and a Moroccan immigrant 25 years her junior in Fassbinder's homage to Sirk's "All That Heaven Allows". They meet by accident when she ducks into a bar he frequents to avoid the rain. His friends jokingly dare him to dance with her, but they hit it off, each touched by how the other really pays attention to them. They marry and are very happy, but their friends, family and society in general are cruel and ostracize them. This is a beautiful film ... at times tender and touching, and at other times infuriating. Like Sirk, Fassbinder accentuates the artificiality of the melodrama, but in a significantly different fashion. There's a stilted awkardness to many scenes designed to highlight the isolation and estrangement of the characters.
June 26, 2016
Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is a story of two people who are not exactly alone in the world but not apart of it, and it's this that is Fassbinder's focus first before making a "message" movie about racism.
This is why a film like this will forever trump some sanctimonious self-righteous pablum like Kramer's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Fassbinder wanted the audience to take away something about German society and its attitude about other races and ethnicities, but he's really after something so much more important, which is, dare I get pretentious here, the human condition. He takes cues from Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Alows, but only loosely, like a musician who knows the notes yet wants to try another rhythm and arrangement. This isn't a glossy movie that relies on subtext, on the contrary everything is out in the open in Fear Eats the Soul, and it's an urban setting with characters in disarray. It may be the most tender of Fassbinder's melodramas.
And things end up happening here that I definitely did not expect. Love comes upon Emmi and Ali rather quickly, as if they weren't expecting it, and it's accentuated in a wonderfully touching moment at night when Emmi is in her nightgown in her room, Ali coming in as an invited guest in order to get out of the rain and stay the night, and she tells him how it is to have someone, to not be lonely. It's such a sad scene that's punctuated by a sense of bliss that seems just within reach. And, again, this is not a story that unfolds with much ease; nobody accepts that Emmi and Ali, after knowing each other for only so long (and, indeed, based on a moment when Emmi has to come up with a quip to keep the landlord away), are married, not least of which her immediate family (this scene is classic Fassbinder, a sense of rage simmering under calm that just erupts without any theatrics with the camera), co-workers, a grocery story clerk, and, for a moment or two, not even Ali himself.
It's such a sad little story that a couple of times I wondered "no, this can't be, Fassbinder can't really be going here", and the style, despite being reliant on the director's proclivity for doing scenes in one take per shot and on a two-week schedule, may inform that some of the acting is not the most professional caliber. No matter. All the raw emotion comes through, with those stares that people have, with so much resentment and ignorance amplified without even saying a word. One such scene that resonates is when Ali and Emmi sit at an outdoor café and about five or six people look on from across the road, just staring, not talking, and it finally brings Emmi to tears. This is not the same kind of "will they or wont they accept us" tale of All That Heaven Allows. This is something much deeper-rooted, not helped by the fact that it's in 1974, two years after the Olympics tragedy in Munich, or the fact of so many were once members of the Nazi party- even kind-hearted Emmi herself.
And, as it should, the film ends with a bittersweet quality that can only come with so assured a filmmaker. We can't be sure of anything with Ali and Emmi, how long people may come around to actually be alright with their marriage let alone see them (i.e. Fassbinder's own lazy louse character married to Emmi's daughter), or if the hypocrites who wouldn't talk to Emmi soon after feel up her husband's muscles, or if they can even stay in their little home or quarter without something else coming their way or if something may tear each other apart (we already get a good taste of that prior to this scene). But they are together, and that's what counts. It's an imperfect but classic film on romance and prejudice, "us" and "them", no punches pulled.
½ March 16, 2016
Wonderfully acted portrait of modern society with its ugly fears and bigotry.
Super Reviewer
½ November 19, 2015
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.
Super Reviewer
November 14, 2015
Very simple and yet so powerful.
July 26, 2015
Usually when I see relationships with a huge age gap portrayed on the screen I feel uncomfortable or I think it is unrealistic. With the relationship at the heart of this film, I felt much differently, and I have no idea why. Hearing that it seems to have been inspired by Douglas Sirk I went into this movie without huge expectations, and I was pleasantly surprised.

While I don't understand its full purpose yet, I was amazed by Fassbinder's awareness of the frame and putting smaller frames into the frame of the camera. These frames are not always perfect squares, but sometimes doorways to show the action going on in the other room, and I guess all I can say is it seems to speak to the voyeur. Repeated scenes with contrasting ideas/themes are also abound in this film, and these revisited scenes can be so different they can bring tears to the viewer's eyes. What is particularly sad is when the dance at the beginning of the film is redone at the film's conclusion with Ali admitting that he has cheated on his wife.

I like the relationship at the core, but I am unsure what to make of the characters. Ali seems a nice enough man, though he does not have perfect German and his dialogue often lacks the use of verbs. I don't have anything wrong with that, he doesn't fully know German yet, but it shows that even with his wise sayings he still has more to learn. As for Emmi, she is not ashamed to say she was part of Hitler's party and even wishes to go to a restaurant often visited by Hitler. I can totally understand this since this film is speaking from a German perspective, but as my classmates pointed out it is uncomfortable or strange to have a character who connects positively to Hitler.

I hated and loved other characters within this film for their racism and later catharsis, which shows it was able to get to my emotions.
½ July 12, 2015
Considering the short time Fassbinder was on the planet, he created some of the most astounding films of the 1970's. Pulling from Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Allows, Fassbinder has not created an homage to the great filmmaker. Instead he further explores Sirk's idea into a more immediate realm. Simple and restrained -- Brigitte Mira and El Hedi ben Salem have no time for sentiment. This is a film about love holding itself in place despite societal pressures against it. Neither character is perfect. Both are flawed and equally challenged. Fassbinder does not flinch or spare a punch as we see both protagonist struggle with their own demons. It is a quiet but profound examination that has only become more relevant with time.
February 25, 2015
I think I need a bit of distance from this before I can give my true opinion of it; It is certainly educational, but more on its style and impact later.
½ December 28, 2014
El miedo que implica toda transgresión devora pedacitos de alma...
October 23, 2014
If I were an artist and I could produce only one great work of art in my life, this would be it. I'd consider my work and life fullfilled.
October 8, 2014
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½ September 29, 2014
Realistic, heart felt and surprisingly unsentimental. Uncomfortable and close to perfect. Brigitte Mira gave the best performance of 1974.
½ September 15, 2014
A spare production and a beautifully composed film examining loneliness; different ways of valuing relationships; bigotry, tolerance, and acceptance; and, in very interesting ways, how people can be pushed together or pulled apart by the rejection or acceptance of those around them.
½ July 22, 2014
it was an interesting, sad, oddly realistic film. i liked the contrast between the film's visual style and content - fassibinder took a sirk-esque visual style (pastel colour-schemes, bright flat lighting, framed, claustrophobic spaces) which are often associated with melodramas, to tell a very real story. on the surface the plot of this film seems just as convoluted as any of sirk's melodramas, but at a deeper level reveals a lot about human nature and shows us why real people do things that seem crazy to the rest of the world.
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