“With people like that in the house, dirt takes over.”
Response to Peary’s Review:
Mira is perfectly cast in the central female role, and fans will definitely want to check out the 2003 interview with her on Criterion’s digital restoration DVD. Salem’s personal story (he was Fassbinder’s lover in real life) mirrors his onscreen tragedy, albeit on an even more catastrophic scale; I’d love to find a copy of the 2012 documentary about him entitled My Name is Not Ali, but haven’t had any luck so far. Suffice it to say that this films reminds us how being an “outsider” — whether older, darker-skinner, less-attractive, foreign, lower-class, gay — remains an ongoing challenge for many (if not most) humans across the globe. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is simultaneously a balm for one’s heart (“When we’re together, we must be nice to each other — otherwise, life’s not worth living.”) and a cautionary tale that our souls are hardly free from the xenophobic fear “Ali” warns us of.
Note: Peary writes that “Fassbinder admired the work of Douglas Sirk, and critics were quick to point out the film’s similarity to Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows,” as well as themes from Sirk’s Imitation of Life.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)