Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Rainer Werner Fassbinder | Ali: Fear Eats The Soul




Fear eats the soul is a film about loneliness. An elderly German widow comes together with a younger Moroccan man [Ali] and the outpouring of prejudice from the people in her life who ordinarily have little time for her as a woman and a human is painful to observe.

It's set in 1974 Germany and so for me was powerfully evocative as I lived there during that time and the 70's polyester prints neatly sum up the mass production post war colour that crept into peoples lives as the 'wirtschaftwunder' economic miracle began heating up after the total destruction of Germany during the war.

It's a spell binding movie with Fassbinder's idiosyncratic style of taking only one shot of each scene and so if you're paying attention a few mistakes creep in but it just gives it the feel of great theatre and writing.

In real life Ali was Fassbinder's boyfriend. Brigitte Mira's performance as Emmi is moving and Fassbinder himself makes a cameo performance as a work shy racist son in law.

This is the second film I've seen from the director after the 15 hour marathon of Berlin Alexanderplatz  that I wrote about over here. Ali's German is so broken that I understood every word as my own command of German has become so rusty it's barely useful if I try to use it.

In some ways Fassbinder comes across like a German Ozu with his sparse directing and key doorway framing shots. I doubt this film will be up on Youtube for too long so watch it while you can as it doesn't need the high definition that modern productions demand.