Fear Eats the Soul

Fri 26th May – 19:30 Terry O’Toole Theatre
W. Germany 1974
Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Cert 15
93 mins
Starring: Brigitte Mira, El Hedi ben Salem

Legendary German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder charges full tilt at contemporary taboos in this landmark film about a love that not exactly “dare not speak its name”, but is expected to keep quiet about it. The love in this case is that of a 60-something German woman for a much younger Moroccan migrant worker. Lonely widow Emmi meets Ali in a bar and they immediately strike up a friendship which soon turns to love. To get out of an awkward situation with her landlord Emmi tentatively suggests marriage, to which Ali, much to Emmi’s delight and surprise, readily agrees. Emmi’s neighbours, work colleagues and family react badly to the news of the marriage and Emmi and Ali face prejudice and discrimination at every turn, Emmi being labelled insane and a whore. Society’s contempt becomes so pervasive that even Emmi and Ali begin to believe that their love is doomed. With great assurance Fassbinder reworks the classic Hollywood melodrama of the 1950s, particularly Douglas Sirk’s “All that Heaven Allows” and “Imitation of Life”, to portray contemporary prejudices with fierce emotional power.

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