The film Ali: Fear eats soul is one of Fassbinder’s most known works. Despite being an exercise in film-making, the film ended up being awarded numerous prizes including two awards in the Cannes film festival.
The film was shot over the course of two weeks and it has some features that make it stand out.
First of all, there is almost no background music. The film contains only a few songs used in key moments to emphasize the importance of the scenes. Two instances where music appears is when Ali and Emmi meet for the first time and then when they reconcile. These scenes are made to stand out through the music used in those short moments.
The dramatic effect of the film is created through the fixed frames and the scenes where the characters are filmed from afar. During Emmi and Ali’s fight, Ali is usually filmed from afar and presented as siting alone in a room or in the middle of the street. This technique of filming only emphasizes the loneliness felt by Ali and makes the viewer be more compassionate.
Also Ali’s way of speaking creates the illusion of authenticity and amplifies furthermore the idea that he is not able to fully integrate in the German society. Ali speaks a ‘’broken German’’, full with grammatical mistakes that only highlights his status as a foreigner.
Fassbinder also included some personal ideas about politics and morality in general in his film. The relationship between Ali and Emmi is a controversial just as many of Fassbinder’s relationships were controversial as well when analyzed through the political and social context of the time.