Angst essen Seele auf (1974) is a German,Arabic movie. Rainer Werner Fassbinder has directed this movie. Brigitte Mira,El Hedi ben Salem,Barbara Valentin,Irm Hermann are the starring of this movie. It was released in 1974. Angst essen Seele auf (1974) is considered one of the best Drama,Romance movie in India and around the world.
The wildly prolific German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder paid homage to his cinematic hero Douglas Sirk with this update of that filmmaker's All That Heaven Allows (1955). A lonely widow (Brigitte Mira) meets a much younger Arab worker (El Hedi ben Salem) in a bar during a rainstorm. They fall in love, to their own surprise-and to the outright shock of their families, colleagues, and drinking buddies. In Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Fassbinder expertly wields the emotional power of classic Hollywood melodrama to expose the racial tensions underlying contemporary German culture.
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Munich, in the mid-70s: She enters the exotic bar because it's raining and maybe because she's a little curious what this place with that strange music is like. He asks her for a dance because his friends tell him to do so. He accompanies her home. He stays for the night. The fall in love. They marry. All that sounds like your average Hollywood romance. But that's only half the story of 'Fear Eats the Soul'. Here's the other half: She, Emmi Kurowski, is a 60 year old, widowed cleaner, mother of three married children. He, Ali, is a black foreign worker from Morocco, 20 years younger than her, speaking a rather bad German (a more faithful translation of the German original title 'Angst essen Seele auf', a quote from Ali, would be 'Fear Eat Soul'). This film is not a cheesy romance, it is the story of two people who love each other and struggle with the rest of the world to be accepted. But the people around them have problems. The neighbors are talking about them, Emmi's colleagues ignore her, the merchant refuses to serve them, and Emmi's children don't want to understand it - her son Bruno even destroys the TV set in his anger. Rainer Werner Fassbinder is arguably the greatest German director ever, and with more than 40 films, TV series, TV films plus 16 theater plays he wrote, directed and often also (co-)starred in in a career that lasted only a mere 15 years, he is certainly one of the most efficient directors in film history. His best films are a criticism of German society after World War II by simple, but memorable stories with very well observed characters. And 'Fear Eats the Soul' displays Fassbinder's qualities best. In very simple shots (facial expressions, the use doors to stress the loneliness of his characters), he makes this films very emotional. The film is sometimes described as naive. That's wrong. Maybe it is naive to believe that a 60 year old widow and a black 40 year old worker will fall in love. But the rest is as well-observed as a film can be: The fact that people's reactions change when they realize that it's easier to accept them and take advantage of them. That Emmi eagerly joins her colleagues as soon as they have found a new victim. That Ali goes to the waitress of his bar to get the two things Emmi can't give him - sex and his favorite dish. And then the film has some amazing acting. But from the entire cast, Brigitte Mira as Emmi Kurowski stands out. Actually a comedic actress, she shines in this drama as a woman who struggles for acceptance. Her speech outside a restaurant, when all the waiters stare at them but don't serve them, is heartbreaking, her entire performance is unforgettable. At first sight, 'Fear Eats the Soul' is a small, simple romantic film. But look closer and you'll see it is so much more, it is a comment on subliminal prejudices and selfishness. It shows what a film can do, even if its budget is tiny, if it only believes in the power of its story.
This is the film which made the greatest impression on me ever. As a young serviceman stationed in West Germany throughout the 1970's & 80's I used to watch a great deal of German Television, to try and understand the German people and their culture. One night,wife and children asleep, I happened upon: "Ein Film von Rainer Werner Fassbinder" What a revelation!! Suddenly here was a film which showed all human life in its most passionate, desperate, vital but delicate form. It certainly made a great impression on me and even now, 26 years later, I can still see, feel and react to each thought, idea aand feeling that coursed through me at that time. Truly a wonderful film and a genius of a director. It helped me understand love.
Two lonely people connect with each other at a local bar in Munich, Germany. The bar is frequented by foreign workers, mostly Arabic, who come to socialize and escape from the rejection they feel as foreign workers. Inspired by the Douglas Sirk melodrama All That Heaven Allows, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul by German master Rainer Werner Fassbinder is a simple and direct statement of love between an older woman and a younger man and also a biting commentary on the mentality of prejudice and the state of German society during a period of economic resurgence. Shot in a period of only fifteen days, Ali (El Hedi ben Salem) is a fortyish Moroccan auto mechanic who feels estranged from his culture amidst the condescension and hostility of German society. Emmi Kurowski (Brigette Mira), who is probably close to sixty, is a lonely cleaning lady who lost her husband many years ago and finds the outlets for companionship very limited. To escape from the rain, Emmi ducks into the bar where a few foreign workers gather as the jukebox plays haunting Arabic songs. On a dare, Ali asks Emmi to dance and the two become friends after he accompanies her to her home and stays overnight. Speaking in broken German, Ali's terse answers to her questions underscore his inability to fully blend into German society. As Ali says, "German Master. Arab Dog". Emmi is a native German who once belonged to the Nazi Party but shrugs it off by asking "Wasn't everyone?" She is an innately good person but full of the contradictions of German society. They are drawn to each other out of a desperate need for love but as they see more of each other, they are subject to increasing hostility from nosy neighbors, co-workers, and members of Emmi's family. The resentment reflects not only ageism but also the reaction to foreign workers who in their view are usurping their jobs. In a classic scene, Emmi tells her children that she is going to marry and introduces Ali as they sit in stunned silence and disbelief staring at her until one of the sons kicks in the television set as the rest get up and leave. Even after they are married, the hostility continues and the couple are subjected to condescending service in restaurants and neighbors telling the landlord's son about Emmi's "lodger" and calling the police to report a disturbance when friends gather to listen to music. In a powerful sequence, Ali and Emmi sit alone in a garden restaurant surrounded by empty yellow chairs and the restaurant staff stands transfixed, looking at them from the doorway. After Emmi breaks down in tears, they decide to go on a short vacation, hoping that things will turn around when they return. Surprisingly they do when hypocritical neighbors and family members suddenly discover that they are in need of assistance from the couple. The fears have been implanted, however, and the newlyweds' deep-seated insecurities come to the surface despite a noticeable change in attitude from the people around them. Ali longs for his native food that Emmi cannot or will not cook and turns to the buxom owner of the local bar for sex and Couscous. After a brief separation, they return to the bar where they first met as the film takes an unexpected turn. Brigette Mira turns in a solid performance as the lonely old woman, giving her the strength of character to withstand all of life's rejections. El Hedi ben Salem is magnificent as the strong stoic African who is able to give of himself to a very different kind of partner. With limited dialogue, the camera-work enhances the feeling of isolation with wide shots that render the couple vulnerable to the stares of neighbors, family, waiters, and bar owners. A poignant, honest, and revealing work of art, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is an immediate addition to my list of favorite films.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder's quietly powerful film is a sort-of remake of Douglas Sirk's "All That Heaven Allows," a film and director greatly admired by Fassbinder, but it has a sharper edge than Sirk's film. In "Ali: Fear Eats the Soul," the couple fighting a society's prejudice and resentment of their unconventional love must fight some of their own prejudices as well. In Sirk's film, the only thing imposing on the complete happiness of Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson was the busy-body ostracism of family and friends who didn't approve of the relationship between a rich society widow and her working-class gardener. In "Ali," Fassbinder suggests that happiness isn't something that's gained from the approval of others, but rather is the responsibility of the individuals involved. One of the things I liked best about this film is that as the German society gets used to the unconventional romance and begins to accept our two protagonists, the couple themselves begin to struggle to maintain a grip on the happiness they thought would be their's by right. Fassbinder's unconventional couple are a frumpy German widow and a Moroccan immigrant 10-15 years younger than her. I gather from this film that Moroccans (or Arabs in general) were about as hated and feared in Germany at the time of this film's release as blacks were in America during the worst of the civil rights movement. So you can imagine how the couple's initial courting and subsequent marriage is handled by their neighbors, friends and family. Fassbinder himself was gay, and many suggest that the film is an allegory for the way homosexuals were persecuted. Fassbinder's private life undoubtedly informed his film, but the movie is really more universal than that. It really applies to anyone who's ever suffered the judgement of a group of people over something that didn't even affect those people, and really, who can honestly say that they've never been subjected to that? Fassbinder directs in a low-key, unfussy style, yet he creates images and scenes that linger in the head long after the film is over. It's a lovely film, very well acted, scripted and directed. It's not exactly sad, because it argues that societies are able eventually to adapt to new things and accept things they originally rejected. But it's not exactly happy either, because it suggests that relationships don't necessarily become easier just because external obstacles are removed. Grade: A
Although ostensibly an attack on prejudice in all its forms this movie is also a pessimistic comment on how Fassbinder saw all relationships as problematic. The couple in this survive society's disapproval and reach a point of co-existence with the world. At this point they are undone form within. Superb performances all round but particularly Briggite Mira as Emmi. Watch out for RWF as her repulsive son-in-law. A great film from a great director.