Ali: Fear Eats the Soul(1974)
Hark Bohm Doctor
Peter Moland Chief garage mechanic
Rudolf Waldemar Brem Bar patron
Katharina Herberg Girl in bar
Hannes Gromball Waiter
Peter Gauhe Bruno Kurowski
Anita Bucher Mrs. Ellis
Elma Karlowa Mrs. Kargus
Helga Ballhaus Yolanda
Elisabeth Bertram Frieda
Margit Symo Hedwig
Gusti Kreissl Paula
Lilo Pempeit Mrs. Münchmeyer
Doris Mattes Mrs. Angermeyer (as Doris Mathes)
Walter Sedlmayr Angermayer
Marquard Bohm Gruber
Karl Scheydt Albert Kurowski
Irm Hermann Krista
Barbara Valentin Barbara
El Hedi ben Salem Ali (El Hedi ben Salem M'Barek Mohammed Mustapha)
Brigitte Mira Emmi Kurowski (Emanuela ben Salem M'Barek Mohammed Mustapha)
Ingrid Caven (uncredited)
Rainer Werner Fassbinder Eugen, Krista's husband (uncredited)
Wolfgang Hess Voice of Ali
Kurt Raab Car Mechanic (uncredited)
Writer: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
German Subtlety: An Oxymoron?
Actually the German characteristic seen usually as humorless and objective analysis of motivation is capable of great subtlety. It comes across as a blatant slap in the face subsequently revealed by introspective dialogue or camera work to consist of several layers of social commentary. In this film, the viewer is placed in an uncomfortable position of having to endure a kind of visceral commiseration with a totally absurd set of misfitted main characters while simultaneously working through his own emotional response to the true-to-life situations they encounter. In that it shows Fassbinder to be completely oblivious to sentimentality, the great bugbear of most German literary art.

The well-worn roadmap of twentieth-century German history is reflected in the dour but soft lines of aging actress Brigitte Mira's face as widow Emmi. Personal tragedy is implicit in her character, never suggesting, however, any need for condolence; rather, there is a sense of determination as profound as may be seen in any younger or more appealing heroine on task to make her life whole. That she embarks on a quixotic venture to do so is funny and sombre at the same time.

I think it is a mistake to rely solely on the notion that this is just another anti-racist, anti-bourgeois tract. It is as well a very sophisticated portrayal of all the dimensions of love in all its forms, very similar to the oft-cited precursor film "Harold and Maude." While not replete with any complex twists of plot, it is nevertheless a many-layered and engrossing slice of life that is accessible to a wide variety of viewers.

That is what excellent filmmaking is all about.

User credit 1:1001 movies you must see before you die
User credit 2:588
Storage device:DVD
Imdb rating: 8.1
Running time: 93 min | USA
Everything else:
Last modified: 2008-05-07 20:08:53