Social Icons

26 February 2012

ALI: Fear Eats the Soul [Angst essen Seele auf] (1974)

Directed by: Rainer Fassbender
Written by: Rainer Fassbender
Produced by: Rainer Fassbender


Genre: Romance, Art House, Drama


Colour, 93 Minutes



From the title, I expected an art house thriller from Germany, but it is the complete opposite. ALI is a strange romance film of two lonely souls who come together, and get married. The concept is quite disgusting due to the 20 year plus age gap, but the films exploration and depiction of the cruelty of people and marital relationships is enough to keep the lightest of moviegoers entertained. This is another highlight of the 70’s as one of the high watermarked new-wave German films with its strong story and grand performances.

It is 1976, and this German film is a highlight of the new wave of cinema that Germany introduced (as I have read up). I can certainly see It's unique storytelling and style compared to some earlier German films, and a film around the same period that may be in the same flock is Nosferatu: Phantom of the Night in 1977, which is a stylistic remake of the original 1922 version, that manages to gracefully resemble it. 

The story is what is so beautiful about the film. Its gracious sense of romance is so lovable. A lonely old cleaning woman, whose husband has dies many years ago who has three children that seem to give her some neglect meeting a young Arabian foreigner at a bar who had a practically chance meeting who is also lonely. These two characters are different in the sense of their age, being likely 20 or so years apart, and the fact one is a foreigner. Seeing them challenge the insults and intolerance of the people around them, they care for one another- for the majority of the film at least.

That is another thing that is wonderful about the film; its commentary on society. In this film, the society and people we see are intolerant and unaccepting of foreigners, and in this case despise Arabians. Minny’s once friends gossip to one another about how degrading it would be to be married to an Arab, and their ignoring of her as friends. It shows how horrible judgemental and racist some people can be, and the thing that makes this one of the films strongest themes is there are many people even now who are intolerant of race, religion, sexuality and ethnicity.

Director Rainer Fassbinder does not fail to impress with his artistic touch to the film. There are times when we are confronted with long facial pauses, and doorframes showing a character(s) in a particular mood, such as when Ali is in the apartment with the woman whom he is having an affair with. The camera stops as he takes off his clothes and the woman comes towards him, and they prepare to make love. Sorry if that sounded like too much detail, but it is an example of the unique cinematography of the film.


You cannot talk about the film without mentioning the solid performances given by Brigitte Mira and El Hedi ben Salem. Mira captured the essence of her character and the result was a relatable character who is nothing more than the average hard-working woman, who is lonely and feels isolated in her life. Salem, is quite similar in the sense of loneliness, but makes up for a complex character. As we reach the end of the film, you have second thoughts about this man, and begin to turn against him. However, we can see he is simply a man with faults, but we can clearly see he feels bad for what he done. That is all I can say without spoilers. 

The film is not stylistic, but does have a 70’s touch to it. What with the apartment looks, the clothing and the hairstyles that we see. Throughout the film, it feels quite dreamlike rather than realistically gritty. Such scenes I include for this is the scenes of the apartments, the bar that we see at the start of the film and the park area that has many yellow chairs and tables were Minny and ALI are talking; all have its own sort of sense of reality. At least that is what I think.

As time goes on, I seem to think higher of this film, and since I watched over 4 weeks ago, I have boosted the rating by 0.5. It is a simple story that is told wonderfully and uniquely, which is what gives it its universal appeal. The film today is quite popular among critics and filmgoers, and with many a good reason. 

Verdict: ALI: Fear Eats the Soul serves up more than what its premise offers through its glorious acting and story, and is a fine example of the new wave cinema of Germany.You will find yourself very enthused with this curious cinematic romance. 

Rating: 9.5/10

Extra Information:
At IMDB
At RottenTomatoes
Age Certificate: 15
Country: Germany
Language: German 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a terrific little film I should watch. Great review.

    ReplyDelete

 

All Labels

1915 (1) 1919 (1) 1921 (3) 1922 (6) 1923 (3) 1924 (3) 1925 (3) 1927 (5) 1928 (3) 1929 (1) 1931 (3) 1932 (1) 1933 (2) 1935 (1) 1939 (1) 1941 (1) 1942 (2) 1945 (1) 1947 (1) 1948 (2) 1950 (1) 1951 (1) 1952 (1) 1953 (2) 1954 (2) 1956 (1) 1958 (2) 1959 (1) 1960 (2) 1961 (2) 1964 (1) 1965 (1) 1968 (1) 1969 (2) 1970 (2) 1971 (6) 1972 (5) 1973 (3) 1974 (3) 1975 (5) 1976 (4) 1977 (1) 1978 (2) 1979 (3) 1980 (1) 1981 (2) 1982 (3) 1984 (2) 1985 (2) 1986 (4) 1987 (3) 1988 (3) 1989 (2) 1990 (2) 1991 (6) 1992 (3) 1993 (2) 1994 (6) 1995 (1) 1996 (1) 1997 (1) 1998 (2) 2000 (2) 2001 (1) 2002 (3) 2003 (4) 2004 (1) 2005 (3) 2006 (7) 2007 (7) 2008 (3) 2009 (11) 2010 (10) 2011 (44) 2011 FilmMaster Award Nominees (1) 2011 FilmMaster Award Results (1) 2012 (12) 25 Greatest Silent Films (1) 50 Favourite Films (1) 70's Movie Marathon (15) 84th Academy Awards Predictions (1) Action and Adventure (45) Actor Overviews (3) Animation (17) Art House (17) Biographical (4) Blogger of the month (4) Blogger Round-Up (3) Comedy (87) Crime (8) Direcotrs: Rainer Fassbender (1) Director Overviews (2) Directors: Jonathan Demme (1) Directors: Adam Elliot (1) Directors: Alan Parker (1) Directors: Alexander Payne (1) Directors: Alexandre Aja (1) Directors: Alfonzo Cuaron (1) Directors: Alfred Hitchcock (11) Directors: Andre Ovredal (1) Directors: Andrei Tarkovsky (1) Directors: Andrew Stanton (2) Directors: Bob Fosse (4) Directors: Buster Keaton (4) Directors: Carl Dreyer (1) Directors: Charles Chaplin (14) Directors: Charles Walters (1) Directors: Chris Colombus (2) Directors: Christopher Nolan (3) Directors: D.W Griffith (1) Directors: Danny Boyle (1) Directors: Darren Aronofsky (1) Directors: David Cronenberg (2) Directors: David Fincher (2) Directors: David Lynch (1) Directors: David Yates (4) Directors: Don Siegel (1) Directors: F.W Murnau (4) Directors: Fernando Meirelles (1) Directors: Francis Ford Coppola (1) Directors: Frank Oz (2) Directors: Fred M. Wilcox (1) Directors: Gene Kelly (4) Directors: George Cukor (3) Directors: George Lucas (1) Directors: George Mêliés (3) Directors: Gore Verbinski (4) Directors: Henry Selick (3) Directors: Howard Hawks (1) Directors: J.J Abrams (1) Directors: James Whale (3) Directors: Jim Sharman (1) Directors: Joe Dante (1) Directors: Joe Johnston (1) Directors: John Avildsen (1) Directors: John Carpenter (1) Directors: John Hillcoat (1) Directors: John Lasseter (1) Directors: John M. Stahl (1) Directors: John Waters (2) Directors: Johny Huston (1) Directors: Joss Whedon (1) Directors: Katsuhiro Otomo (1) Directors: Luis Buñuel (1) Directors: Mark Sendrich (2) Directors: Martin Scorsese (2) Directors: Michael Caton-Jones (2) Directors: Oliver Stone (1) Directors: Pete Doctor (1) Directors: Peter Jackson (2) Directors: Pier Paolo Pasolini (1) Directors: Raja Gosnell (1) Directors: Ralph Bakshi (1) Directors: Richard Schikel (1) Directors: Ridley Scott (3) Directors: Rob Letterman (1) Directors: Rob Marshall (2) Directors: Robert Weine (1) Directors: Robert Wise (4) Directors: Robert Zemeckis (1) Directors: Roger Corman (3) Directors: Russ Meyer (1) Directors: Sam Peckinpah (2) Directors: Sam Raimi (3) Directors: Seth Gordon (1) Directors: Stanley Kubrick (4) Directors: Steven Spielberg (4) Directors: Terry Zigoff (1) Directors: Tim Burton (5) Directors: Tom Six (1) Directors: Uwe Boll (1) Directors: Victor Fleming (2) Directors: Werner Herzog (2) Directors: Wes Craven (10) Directors: WIlliam Friedkin (1) Directors: Williard Huyck (1) Directors: Woody Allen (1) Documentary (5) Drama (94) Family (9) Film Master Newsletters (5) Hitchcock Movie Competition (4) Horror (56) Horror Marathon (32) Independent Film (1) Mockumentary (4) Months in Review (5) Musical (24) Musical Film-a-Thon (23) Mystery and Suspense (39) Other Posts (24) Photography (1) Poll Results (10) Quickie Reviews (15) Rating: 1.5/10 (1) Rating: 1/10 (2) Rating: 10/10 (12) Rating: 2.5/10 (1) Rating: 2/10 (2) Rating: 3/10 (6) Rating: 4.5/10 (6) Rating: 4/10 (1) Rating: 5.5/10 (1) Rating: 5/10 (6) Rating: 6.5/10 (10) Rating: 6/10 (1) Rating: 7.5/10 (26) Rating: 7/10 (13) Rating: 8.5/10 (27) Rating: 8/10 (38) Rating: 9.5/10 (12) Rating: 9/10 (39) Reviews (238) Romance (15) Sci-Fi and Fantasy (54) Silent Film Marathon (23) Silent Film Marathon 2 (12) Sport (2) STOP SOPA (1) The 70's in cinema (2) Thoughts on 84th Oscars (1) Thriller (5) Top 15 of 2011 (1) Trailer Round Up (3) War (3) Western (5)
There was an error in this gadget