Ali is in part an homage to the films of Douglas Sirk, in particular Imitation of Life and All That Heaven Allows. The most overt homage is the scene in which Emmi's son kicks in the television (an important symbol in All That Heaven Allows) after finding out that his mother has married an Arab. Director Todd Haynes made his own homage to both All That Heaven Allows and Ali: Fear Eats the Soul in 2002 with Far From Heaven, which echoes Sirk's films, but is tempered with several themes taken from Fassbinder. Haynes discussed these connections explicitly in a video introduction to the Criterion Collection's DVD edition of Ali. In Xiaolu Guo's novel A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers (2007) the heroine first meets her lover in a cinema at a showing of Fear Eats the Soul.
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