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Ali:  Fear Eats the Soul
(Angst essen Seele Auf)
Germany - 1974
Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder


Intriguing story of a love affair between an Arab immigrant and a German cleaning lady, twenty years his senior.  The film explores the climate of anti-tolerance for foreigners as well as the conventions of a society that frowns upon the relationship of an older woman with a younger man.  Even though this film is from 1974, it did not appear dated.  We found the story to have an ageless quality, a sad comment that little has changed in the world of bigotry.  Brigitte Mira won a Film Strip in Gold for Outstanding Individual Achievement from the German Film Awards (1974) for her portrayal of Emmi Kurowski, the woman who falls in love with Ali.

We were saddened to learn that El Hedi ben Salem, who plays Ali in the film, hanged himself in jail, after stabbing three people in a German bar.  He had been a former lover of the film's director, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, who tragically died in 1982 at the age of 37, the victim of alcohol and drug addiction.  Fassbinder shot Ali: Fear Eats the Soul in just 15 days, a remarkable achievement proving once again that lavish budgets are not necessary to create a fine film.

Runtime:  93 Minutes

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