MOVIE REVIEW: Ali-Fear Eats The Soul 1974
The title screams horror movie but this is actually a love story.
Emmi Kurowski (Brigitte Mira), is a sixty-ish lonely,German widow who was once a part of the Nazi party. Emmi is actually a good-natured woman who only joined the Nazi's because she felt "that's what everyone else did at the time". Emmi's adult children want little to do with her and her only friends are her neighbors and co-workers. Emmi works as a cleaning woman in office buildings. One evening Emmi visits a bar that is patronized predominately by people of Moroccan descent. On a dare, Ali (El Hedi ben Salem) is challenged to ask Emmi for a dance. Ali takes on the challenge and Emmi accepts. Emmi learns that Ali is a Moroccan/Arab immigrant and earns his living by working as an auto mechanic. Ali walks Emmi home and she invites him in for a drink. The next morning Ali wakes up nude in Emmi's bed. Over the course of time they fall in love and decide to marry. Emmi's friends, family, and coworkers disapprove of her marrying the much younger, dark-skinned immigrant. The friends and neighbors go to great lengths to make the couple's life hell by calling the police when Ali invites some friends over, telling the landlord that Emmi has taken in a "border" etc... Emmi and Ali don't get many breaks outside of their apartment either, they are glared at and given poor service in a restaurant as well. Surpisingly the only people in the couple's lives who don't give them much grief are Ali's friends and coworker's. The family and friends only begin to warm to the idea of the couple being married when they figure out how they can benefit from Emmi and Ali. All of these issues begin to take a toll on Ali and he seeks comfort outside the home. This leads to a downward spiral in the relationship and also a decline in health for either Emmi or Ali..I won't tell any more. No more spoilers from me y'all!
The first time I watched this movie, it stayed on my mind for DAYS on end. In the initial viewing I had to wrap my mind around the fact that I was to believe these two people could be an actual couple. It wasn't so much the racial aspect of the characters, it was the physical attributes that took me by surprise. Emmi looks like any elderly woman you'd see shopping at the market, the kind that brings her own cart to the store. You can see the stark differences of appearances in the two lead characters in the photo above the review. I had to watch a second time to just enjoy the story without any prejudices. This is a very beautiful and very sad love story. It could serve as an analogy for many things. You could exchange the characters for two females or two males and have the same effect. I think that's exactly what the director was going for since he was a gay man and the man who played Ali was his real-life lover. Both lead actors did a great job with the sensitive subject matter. This movie is in German with subtitles. I was lucky enough to find this movie at my public library years ago but it is available through Netflix as well.
VERDICT: 4 SOUL CLAPS!
Labels: Movie Reviews