Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul ★★★★★

Middle-aged Emmi stumbles into a bar one rainy night, a bar frequented by Arab workers and is immediately taken with the titular Ali (at least 20 years her junior) - their relationship flourishes, much to the dismay of her neighbours, her family and her co-workers. The hate thrown, especially at Emmi, is brutal and unrelenting but her love is constant despite this. Ironically their relationship begins to fracture as the hate subsides, as if this has been the thing that bound it together.
The two leads are magnificent in this, with Brigitte Mira giving completely of herself as Emmi while El Hedi ben Salem has the right mix of ingénue and sexual potency. And Barbara Valentin does what she does best, with a pout that could sink a thousand ships.
Timeless in its look at prejudice and hate, this is one of Fassbinder's best known films. A direct homage to the films of Douglas Sirk, both in its subject matter and in the gorgeous colour palette used in the filming. A profoundly moving and exceptional film.

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