Cinema/Chicago News

#56Films to Stream: Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is streaming on The Criterion Channel.

Given the current recommendation to stay home and practice social distancing, we at the Chicago International Film Festival are looking at past selections from each year of the Festival that you can stream now from home. Stream our past selections as we look forward to the 56th Chicago International Film Festival this October 14-25, 2020. Find the full 56 Films for 56 Years selections here.

Today’s #56Films entry, from legendarily prolific director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, is a perfect entry point to his vast filmography and one of the most heart-wrenching works of the German New Wave.


Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
10th Chicago International Film Festival

Inspired by Douglas Sirk’s classic melodramas and a major influence on Todd Haynes, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s seminal romance Ali: Fear Eats the Soul – Silver Hugo Winner at the 1974 Chicago International Film Festival — is one of the most heart-wrenching works from the German New Wave, and hence, a perfect entry point for those unfamiliar with the director’s uncompromising Brechtian cinema. Set in post-war Munich, the film follows an aging white widow who falls in love with a strapping tall Moroccan man, several years younger than her (in a nod to Sirk’s All that Heaven Allows). Their subsequent marriage sparks vindictiveness and bigotry, testing the unlikely couple’s resolve and their racist community, still bounded by the legacy of Nazism. Fassbinder adheres to his familiar alienating style of stilted acting and composed frames, but what’s so remarkable is that beneath the artifice, a tender tale of forbidden love emerges. — Anthony Kaufman, Senior Programmer

Streaming Details:
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is streaming now on The Criterion Channel and available for digital rental.

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