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Fear Eats the Soul 12 rating

Fassbinder’s international breakthrough, this unconventional love story combines lucid social analysis with devastating emotional power.

Melodrama 1974 93 mins

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder


Not a shot is wasted in this bold reworking of Douglas Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows, which unfolds with gripping simplicity: one evening in Munich, an elderly cleaning lady (Brigitte Mira) escapes from the rain into a bar frequented by immigrants. To her surprise, the jukebox plays an old German tango and a handsome young Moroccan (El Hedi ben Salem) asks her to dance...

So far, so like a fairy tale, but this tenderest of romances is soon exposed to the brutal reality of racism and ageism. Arguably Fassbinder’s best loved film, it is still, 40 years on, burningly relevant. Ranked joint 52th in the 2022 Sight and Sound Great Films of All Time poll