Fassbinder's "racy" reworking of Douglas Sirk's Hollywood melodrama All That Heaven Allows (also screening July 1 & 2) won the International Critics’ Prize at Cannes in 1974, and remains one of the director's most celebrated films. Beautifully stylized in the Sirkian manner, and scathing in its critique of German social and political values, Fear Eats the Soul has Emmi (Brigitte Mira), a widowed cleaning woman and ex-Nazi, falling in love with Ali (El Hedi ben Salem), an Arab immigrant worker twenty years her junior. The two are drawn to each other because of shared loneliness — because, as Emmi says, "No-one can live without other people" — but their romance meets with outright hostility and racism from family and friends, and they must also face the very real age and cultural differences between them. The film marked Fassbinder's big breakthrough with foreign critics; he began to be championed by the likes of Vincent Canby of the New York Times, among others, as “the most original talent since Godard.” “A masterpiece ... not to be missed” (Andrew Sarris). Colour, 35mm, in German with English subtitles. 93 mins.
"Technically flawless, deceptively simple and avoiding excesses, it is about problems that are timely and timeless in implications."Variety | full review
"Another quite courageous attempt by Mr. Fassbinder to develop a film style free of the kind of realistic conventions that sentimentalize life's mysteries."New York Times | full review