Special Classic

RW Fassbinder: Angst essen Seele Auf (1974)

Hoezo in KINO

The upcoming premiere Ali & Ava reminded us of this beautiful film – high time to show it as it’s companion piece. Rainer Werner Fassbinder was known as the enfant terrible of New German Cinema. He died at the young age of 37 yet completed 44 projects in his short lifetime. Aside from being a film director he was also an accomplished playwright and theatre director. This film, which is loosely based on Douglas Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows, tells the improbable love story of an older German woman and a young Moroccan immigrant. But unlike Sirk’s film, it’s less sentimental and melodramatic and full of biting social commentary. It addresses themes of racism, prejudice, class differences and still feels as relevant today as it probably was back in 1974. Widely regarded as one of Fassbinder’s best films, the cinematography, use of color and compositions are also outstanding. All in all, a classic that shouldn’t be missed.


Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Brigitte Mira, El Hedi ben Salem, Irm Hermann, Barbara Valentin
93 minuten
Duits, Arabisch


Emmi Kurowski (Brigitte Mira), a cleaning lady, is lonely in her old age. Her husband died years ago, and her grown children offer little companionship. One night she goes to a bar frequented by Arab immigrants and strikes up a friendship with middle-aged mechanic Ali (El Hedi ben Salem). Their relationship soon develops into something more, and Emmi’s family and neighbors criticize their spontaneous marriage. Soon Emmi and Ali are forced to confront their own insecurities about their future

Mark Kermode reviews Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
Source: BFI

Companion piece

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