(aka "Ali: Fear Eats the Soul" or "Fear Eats the Soul")

directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder
German 1974



Rainer Werner Fassbinder, already the director of almost twenty films by the age of twenty-nine, paid homage to his cinematic hero, Douglas Sirk, with this updated version of Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows. Lonely widow Emmi Kurowsky (Brigitte Mira) meets Arab worker Ali (El Hedi ben Salem) in a bar during a rainstorm. They fall in love––to their own surprise––and to the shock of family, colleagues, and drinking buddies. In Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Angst essen seele auf), Fassbinder expertly uses the emotional power of the melodrama to underscore the racial tensions threatening German culture.


Theatrical Release: March 5th, 1974 - Germany

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DVD Comparison:

Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC vs. E-M-S (2 Disc set) - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Andrey Diment for the Region 2 - PAL screen captures!

(Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - LEFT vs. E-M-S - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)

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Criterion Collection - Spine # 198

Region 1  - NTSC

Region 2 - PAL
Runtime 1:33:15 1:29:21 (4% PAL speedup)

1:37:1.00 Original Aspect ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.85 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.35
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s



NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.





Audio German (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono) 

German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), DUB: DD2.0 (mono) Italian

Subtitles English, None English, and none

Release Information:
Studio: Home Vision Entertainment

Aspect Ratio



Edition Details:
  • New high-definition digital transfer 
  • Video introduction by director Todd Haynes (Far From Heaven, Velvet Goldmine, Safe) (22:44)
  • Interviews with actress Brigitte Mira and editor Thea Eymèsz (24:57)
  • Short film Angst isst Seele auf(2002) (12:32)
  • Signs of Vigourous Life: New German Cinema, a 1976 BBC television program (32:17)
  • Excerpt from The American Soldier starring Margarethe von Trotta  (2:43)
  • Original theatrical trailer (3:03)
  • New and improved English subtitle translation 
  • Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition 

DVD Release Date: June 24, 2003
Double Keep Case
Chapters: 21

Release Information:
Studio: E-M-S

Aspect Ratio:
Original aspect ratio - 1.33:1

2-DVD edition (both are DVD-9)

Edition Details:

Disk 1 (DVD-9):
Main feature - 1.29.26
Original trailer - 0.03.05
Actors discussing the movie - 0.40.43
Brigitte Mira sings - 0.08.50
Liselotte Eder's (mother of R.W. Fassbinder) statement - 0.01.41
Picture gallery
Crew biographies (narrated)
Episode from Der Americanische Soldat - 0.03.27
Disk 2 (DVD-5):
“Das kleine Chaos” Fassbinder’s short (1967) ­ 0.09.19
“R.W. Fassbinder, 1977” documentary ­ 0.29.13
Fassbinder’s biography (13 pages, narrated)
Fassbinder’s filmography with posters and trailers


DVD Release Date: April 25th, 2002

Chapters 20


The E-M-S PAL version is hazy. Its whites are brighter than the Criterion which is (again) slightly cropped on both edges, but this is probably due to contrast boosting. The Criterion is sharper. Both have the original mono sound, but the E-M-S has an Italian DUB. The E-M-S has some bountiful Extras on their 2nd disc but they are not subtitled in English. Criterion's second disc is quite marvelous. I don't see any reason to buy the E-M-S over the Criterion. Criterion all the way.

 - Gary W. Tooze

DVD Menus

Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. E-M-S - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)



Screen Captures

(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. E-M-S - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)


(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. E-M-S - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)



(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. E-M-S - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)



(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. E-M-S - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)



(Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. E-M-S - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)



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Gary Tooze

Many Thanks...