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Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
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Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

1974
Romance
Drama
1h 32m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 74.61% from 1452 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(1452)
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Rated 20 Nov 2013
10
96th
An interior view of jealousy, hatred, and prejudice. The irony in the movie is that prejudice isn't overcome through a change of heart, but through self-serving necessity: Emmi's racist son needing his child watched; or a racist store clerk needing Emmi's business; or gossipy neighbors needing Ali's help with heavy-lifting. While the movie's heart is always front and center, it would be too glib to call it simple. It's powerful, loving, complex, compositionally astounding, and a joy to watch.
Rated 26 Apr 2008
85
84th
Uncovered and spellbinding. Lingering close-ups of the protagonists' faces ask for painstaking empathy and meditative long shots evoke existential reflection. Dramatic in a low-voiced manner. Elegant, but rough.
Rated 18 Jan 2007
95
98th
Excellent use of mise en scene. Packed with visual imagery and emotional truth. The unusual bond between Ali and Emmi unfolds in an uncomfortable but touching fashion. Brilliant film.
Rated 09 Sep 2008
85
89th
Most likely this is one of the best German movies ever made. When one watches this might sound exaggerated since this movie doesnt come along like art in any way. It appears pretty real and unsettling and nothing else. And the actors really push this feeling of 70s reality with their emotional work. Besides, its very impressing that Fassbinder wrote this, directed it, produced it, was responsible for the music and acted as a perfect German asshole in this movie.
Rated 30 Jan 2008
90
94th
Fassbinder borrows from Sirk's film, but makes it his own. He boils it down a pure essence. As a result, this unconventional romance is as genuine and touching as any other on film. Much of the credit here belongs to Mira and Salem, who create such sympathetic characters. The handling of racial issues is perhaps simplistic, and yet that contributes to the film's power, the message of hope in the face of adversity. Also some wonderful cinematography, with vivid colors and striking use of space.
Rated 14 Jul 2011
3
28th
For a movie that is known for its subtlety it really beats you to death with its obvious and boredom inducing message. The acting is possibly the worst I've ever seen in my life and this is coming from someone who's seen multiple Rob Schneider movies. It would've been comical if they weren't so damn serious but Fassbinder clearly thinks this is really some deep shit but I "got" it within 15 minutes and it just becomes an exercise in masturbation. Not 100% terrible but way too overpraised.
Rated 15 Nov 2008
14
13th
So... tolerance is a good thing? Way to blow me away, Fassbinder. This was the first movie of his that I saw, and probable the reason why I can't seem to find the motivation to really sink my teeth into his filmography.
Rated 01 Feb 2008
85
81st
A thoughtful insightful film about an unconventional relationship. Fassbinder shows some real insight into his characters and presents some flawed but very real people. I felt it kind of lost it's way in the last half hour, but it was still very good.
Rated 05 Mar 2013
100
99th
I didn't watch anything more sincere than this movie about the loneliness, and at the same time the movie keeps its distance from the characters with a great aesthetic endeavor.
Rated 13 May 2011
85
84th
Sometimes lacking in any subtlety in its portrayal of racism, but really great in every other way.
Rated 11 Jul 2008
80
92nd
Incredibly touching. True to life and filled with melodrama in the best sense of the word.
Rated 07 Aug 2018
80
77th
Finally a movie that depicts the dark reality of people purchasing drinks and then not drinking them.
Rated 09 Mar 2010
4
70th
The racial themes are a bit heavy handed at times (though they become more complex later in the film), but the romance is subtle and touching in a way that few other films can compare to. Sad without being overbearing and not without a sense of hope. And the photography is absolutely beautiful; Sirk's influence shows in every shot.
Rated 17 Nov 2010
42
3rd
Fassbinder's exaggerated style with heavy-handed symbolism and stiff acting undermines the purposed satire. The racist society depicted here is too extreme to relate to and the lack of proper character motivation makes the love story unbelievable. A more subtle style would have worked much better. As is, it's ultimately a rather dull and irrelevant film.
Rated 05 May 2009
80
69th
It's unusual and brilliantly constructed, but there is something ultimately hollow about the emotional humanity uncovered here. Maybe that's the point, maybe I just don't like New German Cinema for that reason, but while structurally and conceptually sound, the film is not compelling for me. (Extra points added for the film being ahead of its time in terms of the thematics addressed here. )
Rated 02 Mar 2008
5
96th
With Ali, Fassbinder handles a myriad of difficult subjects with grace and humanity. The chemistry between Mira and Salem is unparalleled and it makes for one of the better love stories I've ever seen.
Rated 05 Jul 2007
98
99th
So powerful! Everything that happens or is uttered in this movie is unnaturaly concise, and the photography with its loud colors and picturesque compositions is just as unreal. Fassbinder does such things elsewhere but here they are at their sharpest and most iconoclastic. The Fassbinderian form of a cooled-down, minimalist melodrama complements this story perfectly and lends it a poetic quality.
Rated 11 Jun 2008
7
99th
I can't imagine Fassbinder outdoing the visual awareness he portrays here - it is essential to the story. A slow-burning masterpiece and probably the best introduction anyone could have to Fassbinder's world.
Rated 22 Aug 2012
90
80th
It's the photography that seals the deal for me: framing the characters through doorways, or hiding them among a sea of yellow tables. I love the way it takes All That Heaven Allows and updates it to fit a completely different culture. The performances are great.
Rated 07 Dec 2012
85
67th
Probably one of the most earnest films I've ever seen.
Rated 04 Feb 2008
90
95th
Heartbreaking in the depiction of human's darkest sides thoughout simple, subtle scenes that leave you thinking about the meaning of society in one's life.
Rated 22 May 2023
90
92nd
Follows the old adage, "if a man doesn't get couscous at home, he'll go and eat couscous somewhere else." If you don't get it, the couscous means sex.
Rated 03 Dec 2013
70
70th
Simplistic, like all the Germans, maybe life too.
Rated 22 Aug 2022
70
77th
It's true that this is a compassionate film employing economical storytelling, a restrained but meaningful use of the camera, a reserved approach to characterisation and good performances. It is also true that a significant amount of the running time is spent on the revelation that bitchy women and selfish grownup children rarely concede their own flaws. Nevertheless, the subtlety and complexity of the filmmaker's approach gradually develops a certain amount of poetic power. Those Germans!
Rated 19 Jun 2022
4
55th
social stuff is as heavy-handed as haynes' (including the ironic switch to opportunistic pandering), but the final act is richer: love that ali isn't a saintly subversion of stereotypes, and he's objectified/exoticised not only by the camera but emmi herself, who like germany is trying to be better but talks about der führer with a lil too much nostalgia. they're basically tender and sincere people, the other stuff flaring up now and again like an ulcer--it's the stress and the fear, y'see.
Rated 01 Jul 2015
86
85th
I don't see why this film should be more subtle with its way it shows racism.
Rated 06 Nov 2009
3
45th
Its themes are simple and pretty overt, but Fassbinder brings weight with two original, sympathetic characters. It is an unconventional, yet strangely touching romance.
Rated 15 Sep 2009
75
67th
Strange mixture of beautifully realized shots with astoundingly obvious shots, set against one of the most expansive and well-defined palettes of muted colors that I can ever recall. The story is naive as fuck, and towards the end stops trying entirely, but the ponderous photography will have you totally convinced there's something profound lurking below.
Rated 26 Jul 2008
70
82nd
Very good.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
100
98th
One of the saddest and strangest love stories ever. Rainer Werner Fassbinder at his very best.
Rated 02 Sep 2015
95
91st
The use of color is wunderbar, and the dialogue was realistic; the actors are phenomenal; the characters' affects and behaviors were gut-wrenching at times, and heartwarming at others. Overall a beautiful film, one worth re-watching during different times throughout one's life!
Rated 25 Mar 2016
75
72nd
Obvious and heavy-handed, it works less as a realist film and more as a sketch that satirically laments the crushing effect society has on the individual and how every group -even a couple- is built on power play. It's fittingly tragic that only the freest soul in the film admits to care about what others think. But, of course, this is also a love story: it's all about how Mira's vulnerability and Salem's stoicism create this little society of tenderness and manipulation.
Rated 23 Nov 2009
70
42nd
Una película poco convencional.
Rated 14 Jan 2011
92
70th
Touching.
Rated 11 Jun 2020
70
62nd
Yeah, that kind of punk filmmaking is interesting - but man, the story is told a bit overly simplistically, no?
Rated 05 Oct 2022
9
90th
(2nd viewing) For such a small film, it excels in many technical departments. Not to mention, every frame and composition in this film could be part of a photography exhibition. The title for this film is more than aptly chosen: pretty much every character - save for Ali - fears their prejudice will eventually get in the way of their selfish interests. Even Emmi's not entirely faultless as a character. As a naive 20 year-old, I failed to truly appreciate the film's understated nuance.
Rated 21 Jan 2014
91
93rd
In hindsight, this film seems so simple (perhaps too much so). The story and themes are very easy and simple to pick up on and go along with. But that's just looking at the film vaguely, as it's filled with marvelous performances that are exquisitely filmed and Fassbinder knows how long to hold onto a scene, no matter how painful. A very accomplished film with not a single wasted second.
Rated 30 Sep 2011
75
83rd
Oddly enough, this kind of Sirkian melodrama works better in German films than American.
Rated 17 May 2011
1
0th
This was an odd one for me. The romance was strong, as Fassbinder manages to make what could've been a very forced and unconvincing romance into something that unfolded naturally. And as sweet and well-constructed as this was, it was a little blunt and I didn't find it very compelling. Score is not a grade.
Rated 01 Mar 2008
89
82nd
# 214
Rated 11 Sep 2008
25
82nd
A forbidden love story, at first threatened by external factors, then by internal ones.
Rated 26 Jul 2011
85
86th
Gorgeous, colorful, quirky love story about an older woman and a foreign man falling in love, and the reactions of those close to them. Confronts racism and ageism in a somewhat simple but genuine way. The film initially seems a bit shallow, simplistic, and wooden, but in the end turns into one of the more complex, heart-wrenching love stories I've seen in a while, especially knowing the history between Fassbinder and lead actor El Hadi ben Salem.
Rated 10 May 2020
55
21st
ırkçılık; sinemada sığ, derinlikten yoksun bir dil kadar kötüdür.
Rated 24 Dec 2013
90
89th
One of the saddest movies I've ever seen.
Rated 23 Sep 2020
65
38th
The film deals with complex themes in a bland and overly simplistic manner. All in all I did not find it enjoyable or enriching. I'm disappointed.
Rated 27 Oct 2022
85
75th
Occasionally overwrought, especially in the middle, but the central romance is extremely tender and it has a lot of thoughtful things to say about the immigrant experience.
Rated 19 Oct 2018
4
72nd
Beautiful, very interesting elipses. E's comment that work ruins his health restructured the entire experience for a better understanding
Rated 09 Mar 2024
70
53rd
Emmi Kurowski: "People always say "but". And nothing ever changes."
Rated 27 Dec 2020
87
71st
Beautifully shot but too easy and simplistic. Even the most ardent racists would care little about the relationship on display, but maybe they did in 1970s Germany?
Rated 24 Dec 2013
78
44th
i liked the contrast between the film's visual style and content. fassibinder took a sirk-esque visual style (pastel colour-schemes, bright flat lighting, framed, claustrophobic spaces) which are often associated with melodramas, to tell a very real story. on the surface the plot of this film seems just as convoluted as any of sirk's melodramas, but at a deeper level reveals a lot about human nature and shows us why real people do things that seem crazy to the rest of the world.
Rated 19 Dec 2008
91
82nd
186
Rated 19 Feb 2024
85
94th
Among Fassbinder's most visually attractive films, and yet the sparseness that occupies every shot (extending to the script) is a great device for establishing open spaces that you can feel. I'm sure this is all very conducive to analysis, but analysis is not the first thing I feel like conducting so shortly after having seen it. The fact is, it is a very simple film, and much of its' power comes from not beating around the bush.
Rated 23 Sep 2020
89
94th
A truly touching depiction of loneliness and alienation. Brigitte Mara is absolutely wonderful. Some may say it makes its points in a heavy-handed fashion, but I have spent enough time in southern Germany to know that Fassbinder did not exaggerate his situations in the least.
Rated 03 Feb 2021
2
31st
The foundations of Cannes Awards are laid here. Relationships between contrasts, minorities always work. here is an advice: a romance between a blind active lesbian palestinian rebel and a passive bisexual closeted israeli soldier will drown you in awards.
Rated 17 Jan 2023
93
88th
Heartbreaking, subtle and beautifully shot. Need a couscous after this movie.
Rated 22 Jun 2011
80
78th
One of the best and original romance stories that I've ever see. It's spellbinding with soulful acting and has great chemistry between the actors. Fassbinder's direction is superb.
Rated 03 Aug 2019
60
35th
A beautiful film with some amazing shots, but there were a few jumps in the plot that I just couldn't make sense of (were they fantasy or dream sequences? but that wouldn't make sense either). The racism commentary was quite powerful, especially since -- just changing a few nationalities around -- it's still an issue today. (As a completely unconnected aside, I think a movie about the bartender would have been captivating.)
Rated 10 Jul 2017
90
94th
The open ending is what makes this a masterpiece. Racism is not just beaten. Everyone is flawed. I felt intense weltschmerz while watching this film. I can easily see why this is among Aki Kaurismäkis favorites.
Rated 26 Sep 2016
85
60th
interesting view on racism and some great shots, not as sad as it seems to be mad out to be but a realistic romance
Rated 20 Nov 2013
5
70th
nice themes of national tolerance are slightly subverted with a strange change in character motivation about two-thirds through. i'm not sure if that change worked. otherwise compassionate, thoughtful, and easily fassbinder's best.
Rated 18 Apr 2009
95
99th
"Happiness is not always fun." 04/17/09
Rated 25 Sep 2009
84
78th
Brilliantly realized film with scenes of social angst that can truly make you cringe. The ending was a bit easy, though.
Rated 26 Aug 2018
95
95th
26 August 18 & Fassbinder's spectacular space use, simple yet impressive camera movements and the minimal performance of the acting is impressive. I haven't seen such a fragile film in a long time.
Rated 08 Oct 2010
100
93rd
A perfect, rare blending of artistic, emotional and political expression. Deceptively simple and beautifully made.
Rated 19 Oct 2010
40
97th
"Ali's terse speaking matter is ripe with aphorisms, but it's also another way for Fassbinder to evoke the suspended animation of his character's lives." - Ed Gonzalez
Rated 19 Mar 2024
7
73rd
A simple story that looks quite dated in style but hasn’t aged when it comes to human nature and emotions.
Rated 13 Mar 2022
75
43rd
02.17 Hobbit
Rated 01 Mar 2013
80
72nd
Much colder than expected
Rated 18 Oct 2021
83
83rd
Oh, I hated that television just as much as Bruno.
Rated 30 Nov 2015
89
89th
(Rewatch) In light of certain recent events, this feels more poignant than ever. As it was, it's probably the only Fassbinder film with any real sense of warmth or humanism, which makes it more approachable and consequentially why it's one of his most popular. What i didn't appreciate before was how remarkably aesthetically accomplished it actually is as well (it practically looks like a Kaurismaki film!) The intertextuality with Sirk is here of course, but i think this transcends mere homage.
Rated 27 Jun 2008
85
95th
Great
Rated 12 Oct 2011
69
27th
So, racism is bad, hm?
Rated 13 Jan 2010
90
80th
200
Rated 14 Jun 2019
79
84th
being alone hurts. so does being together.
Rated 15 Apr 2013
54
54th
A bit to didactic for my liking, but still an effective story, and I do like the way all the German characters are completely oblivious to the ways in which they manifest all the undesirable traits they ascribe to foreigners. The crisis seems more authentic to me than the set-up or resolution, which seem a bit rushed and overly simplified.
Rated 11 Jun 2022
64
26th
Compelling but oddly distant portrayal of an unconventional romance between a elderly German woman and middle aged Moroccan man focusing on society's reaction to it. Some of the staging is odd, with people just staring for what feels like unrealistic amounts of time. I can't help feeling that it might have been more effective if the alienation of the woman was a little less heavy handed. Everyone is basically at cartoonish racist level. Some subtlety might have helped. Abrupt and odd ending.
Rated 04 Feb 2020
85
74th
Sad, subtle and concrete with it's strikingly beautiful colours. The slow, deranged moments strengthen it's satirical entity, and wears it's heart on it's sleeve. Could not be more satisfied with my first Fassbinder.
Rated 24 Jul 2013
87
83rd
Fassbinder's gentle, touching film chronicles the pain of loneliness and crosses it with social commentary on breaching established racial boundaries. The exquisite shot framing and tracking shots highlight the character's isolation, interspersed with bursts of togetherness and intimacy. The vibrant colors also contrast nicely with the blank performances, suggesting an undercurrent of life, even as events conspire against the couple.
Rated 30 Nov 2011
89
78th
#212
Rated 14 Oct 2015
66
87th
awww. :)
Rated 24 Aug 2010
60
49th
well... it's a good, wellmade movie... no doubt about that... It just doesn't do anything in particular for me...
Rated 29 Dec 2013
29
6th
I was charmed by it's weirdness in the beginning until I realized it wasn't trying to be weird, it was actually trying to be a serious film. A story about a man who has lived in Germany for two years but still hasnt learned German for "I", some of the most one-dimensional characters I have seen and plot points I couldn't have made more ridiculous if I tried to. The cinematography and the interesting premise brings it up a bit, but the writing is crazy bad. But it's foreign so I guess that's okay
Rated 15 Sep 2018
65
58th
The first two thirds worked very well for me as an unfortunately still timely depiction of racism. The fact that overcoming it was due to material concerns is an interesting observation. But it overall lacks so much social/class analysis. The third part exemplifies it: out of the blue sky, Emmi refuses to go towards Ali who, in utter disregard of his previous characterization, starts wandering away. Except for allusions, virtually no social analysis is provided.
Rated 28 Mar 2009
73
85th
Everything. Beautiful.
Rated 16 Apr 2015
100
95th
masterpiece

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