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Ali, fear eats the soul [videorecording] = Angst essen Seele auf
Fassbinder, Rainer Werner
Adult Fiction Drama ALI

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62triplet said:
(1974) 100% (A) (14) * * * * "See my profile for the key to this code" * * * * SYNOPSIS: "60-year-old German charwoman Emmi (Brigitte Mira) goes into a Munich bar frequented by Arab immigrants and dances with a 40-year-old Moroccan named Ali (El Hedi Ben Salem). Ali walks her home and spends the night at her apartment, then moves in with her, much to the chagrin of her neighbors and grown children. Emmi is shunned by her fellow cleaning-women and quarrels with her grocer (Walter Sedlmayr) after he refuses to serve Ali. Ali and Emmi decide to take a vacation, and when they return, suddenly everyone is nice to them. The problem: the lovers themselves begin to have their own reservations about the relationship." CONSENSUS: "'Ali, fear eats the soul' is one of director Rainer Werner Fassbinder's finest films, a mordant satire that's also a touching romance and a powerful indictment of prejudice. Like all of his best films, it possesses a kind of cosmic balance. No one character or belief rises above another without the other shoe dropping." MOTIVATION FOR ME TO SEE: I kept seeing Fassbinder's name in reviews, so I'm going to try one of his most critically acclaimed works (it won the International Critics' Prize at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival). Supposedly his career was influenced by Hollywood, ironic because German new-wave directors were contemptuous of Hollywood, which they felt provided manipulative and corrupt films. MY THOUGHTS: On the supplements, director Todd Haynes narrates how Fassbinder had a revelation by watching Hollywood director Douglas Sirk's classic social prejudice film "All That Heaven Allows" (1955), where Jane Wyman starred as an older woman who falls in love with her young gardener (Rock Hudson). Fassbinder expanded on it to include race as well (postwar West Germany needed cheap labor for the low wage economy while German industry rose from the ashes of WWII, but the native populace resented (and still does) the dark-skinned Middle Eastern and North African foreign worker solution). But the film is more than anti-racism - Emmi and Ali's suffering is what all people go through. See this groundbreaking film, with its bittersweet ending (now I'm on to Hayne's "Far From Heaven" (2002), which was directly influenced by Fassbinder - I love the straight-line connection). (Criterion Collection)
posted Jul 25, 2009 at 1:38PM
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