(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 REVIEW: Criterion - Region 0 - NTSC

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Distribution Criterion Collection  Spine # 198 - Region 0 - NTSC
Runtime 1:33:15 
Video 1:37:1.00 Original Aspect ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.85 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s


Audio German (Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono) 
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Home Vision Entertainment

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

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 

Rich colors in this wonderfully stacked Criterion release. Colors are subtly saturated and full. The mono soundtrack is clear and plays the Middle Eastern music of the film delicately. There are a few scenes were I noticed blurry foregrounds, but I expect it is the film itself. Criterion has added a wealth of Extras on the 2nd disc and it is at their usual benchmark standards.out of Gary W. Tooze

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Gary Tooze

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