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Criterion Collection: Ali: Fear Eats Soul [DVD] [1974] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Colour, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: German
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: U
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: 24 Jun. 2003
  • Run Time: 94 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000093NQY
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,771 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Product description

Product description

Ali Fear Eats(Cc)

From Amazon.co.uk

Rainer Werner Fassbinder paid tribute to his mentor, Douglas Sirk, with this loose adaptation of All That Heaven Allows, the classic 1955 American story about a widow falling for younger man to the disapproval of family and friends. Fassbinder combines the Sirk melodrama with the story told in his own The American Soldier. An ageing, lonely charwoman (sweet old Brigitte Mira) befriends a Moroccan guest worker (El Hedi ben Salem) at least 20 years her junior. Finding comfort and happiness in one another's company, they suddenly marry. Her kids are aghast, his friends appalled, and the neighbourhood turns its back, so the two pull together for support. Their relationship ironically begins to unravel when the pressure of community prejudice eases and they must confront the gulf between them. Combining melodrama with social commentary, Fassbinder offers a sharp, incisive portrait of prejudice in modern Germany grounded in contemporary social conditions. Mira delivers a tender, vulnerable performance and Fassbinder moulds Salem's stiffness into a distinctive character trait of a man ill at ease in German society. It's an assured and beautiful film, full of gliding camerawork and evocative images, and invested with intimacy and gentleness. Even Fassbinder's characteristically grim conclusion defies tragedy for a glimmer of hope, a welcome and affecting rarity in his career. --Sean Axmaker, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I cannot add much to some of the excellent reviews that have already been said about this film. It blends perfectly Douglas Sirk like melodrama with important human issues in a very real way.
Needless to say it is one of my favourite films and this Dvd version has some excellent bonus material also.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
IT DID NOT ARRIVE!! Massively disappointed. Would not bout from BB Corps again.
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Format: DVD
Fear Eats The Soul is one of the defining films of the New German Cinema movement of the late 60's and early 70's, and is perhaps the first true masterpiece by the maverick filmmaker, Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Fear Eats the Soul could also be seen as the first film that is characteristic of the director's trademark style; as he advances on the territory of earlier films like The Merchant Of Four Seasons and The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant, whilst all the while refining his style of camp Douglas Sirk-inspired melodrama, and spiralling emotional despair. Like the majority of the director's work, Fear Eats The Soul focuses on a relationship between two characters from different backgrounds, in this case, an elderly German woman and a Moroccan immigrant.
Like his later film, Fox and his Friends, Fear Eats The Soul uses the central relationship to comment on contemporary German society and their treatment of the outsider. In 'Fox', it was the shallow upper-classes who passed scorn on the working-class carnival worker, essentially using his capacity for love (and his naive understanding of human emotion) in order to get their hands on his recent lottery winnings. In 'Fear', however, the villains of the piece are the same working class characters that seemed so simple and idealised in the film yet to come; the close-friends, neighbours and co-workers who should be celebrating the relationship, instead... set out to destroy it. In 'Fear', Fassbinder is attempting to hold a mirror up to the latent racism of the post-war generation, drawing on the country's dark past and sense of collective historical guilt (...not just of Germany, but of Europe as a whole).
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Format: DVD
This has always been one of my favourite films too, so I wanted to add my two cent's worth, even though its 5 star rating seems secure! I sometimes think Fassbinder can be too bleak but here his analysis is softened by the presence of Brigitte Mira and the result is a kind of perfection. It remains incisive and clear, yet never simplistic, while Mira with her wonderful face makes the whole thing fully realised in human terms. Her character is able to tell us everything we need to know about the heart and what matters in life, even if politics is a bit of a closed book to her; her dignity and pathos are virtually unmatched. And her outfits are pretty extraordinary in a 70s sort of way! The simplest domestic gestures and utterances take on an incredible quality when she is making them. The actor playing Ali is also very good, and you feel every aspect of their relationship and its ramifications is touched on. Fassbinder has a way of making characters hold a look that carries such a potent sense of emotion; when Emmi comes to the garage to find Ali, for instance, the others laugh, and the two of them just look at each other ; it is almost impossible to watch, it is so heartrending. Or the scene when her son kicks in the television set ... But Emmi's inner life and love cannot and will never cede to the meanness of others. It's simply one of the best films ever made. Mira also appears to brilliant effect in Mother Kusters' Trip to Heaven and Chinese Roulette, and she has a small part in Fox and his Friends, that I know of, but this is her greatest moment.
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By Dr. Delvis Memphistopheles TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Dec. 2012
Format: DVD
Loneliness, solitude, need and desire wrap themselves around this film built upon a virulent racism that bristles throughout. Incisive reflection of an unreconstructed Germany echoing across the differing cultures of yesteryear. It was no different in the UK in the 1970's and only changed within the 21st C.

A film which depicts a country not long out of the shadows of 1932-1945, with the lingering resonances spreading throughout the culture. There are some very neat scenarios of people standing staring aghast as the older woman takes her Moroccan lover into the bosom of Germany. The film is set in Bavaria, one of the most conservative of the Lander.

Exploring themes of race, age, need, friendship, desire and fear Fassbinder depicts both a story of stress and resilience. Within the despair is a hope as the couple begin to overcome the inherent prejudice. Part of the problem is the lack of foresight and planning to gradually introduce the relationship as everything takes place at a canter.

Whilst showing the hostility, Fassbinder also depicts the other elements which dissolve racism, when someone is needed for something, the barriers begin to wilt and also economics. The shopkeeper cannot keep on ignoring his customers if he wants them to use his shop.

The stress of illness is also explored and how it impacts upon the body, along with the everyday violence people face in trying to live their lives as if they were normal and the world around is abnormal. The impact upon "Ali" is gradual but corrosive as the tries to make it work.

Having dealt with this situation within psychotherapy, except different cultures English man married to a Japanese woman, it brought home to me the streams of emotional violence which exist to attack the relationship.

A very good poignant psychological treatise.
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