Angst essen Seele auf

  • 94'
  • Germany
  • 1973

Fassbinder’s ode to his cinematic hero Douglas Sirk is a moving variation on the latter’s All That Heaven Allows from 1955. A cleaner in her 60s (Brigitte Mira) meets a much younger guest worker (El Hedi ben Salem) in a bar. To their own surprise and the shock of their families, colleagues and drinking buddies, they fall in love. The neighbours start gossiping and Emmi’s children are ashamed. Social pressure and prejudices slowly drive the couple apart. Fassbinder expertly uses the emotional power of classic Hollywood melodrama to expose racial tensions in German society. It is all too apparent how relevant his film still is.

Although he shot it in only 15 days, Fassbinder paid great attention to the suggestive composition and framing. Doorways and windows seem to cage the characters, making their isolation and exclusion tangible. That makes this fiercely political, yet tenderly romantic tale even more moving.

Director
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Country of production
Germany
Production Year
1973
Festival Edition
IFFR 1974
Length
94'
Medium
35mm
International title
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
Languages
German, Arabic
Producer
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Production Companies
Tango Film, Filmverlag der Autoren
Sales
Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation
Screenplay
Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Cinematography
Jürgen Jürges
Editor
Thea Eymèsz
Sound Design
Fritz Müller-Scherz
Cast
Brigitte Mira, El Hedi ben Salem, Irm Hermann, Barbara Valentin, Peter Gauhe