BFI Classics: Fear Eats The Soul

Author: Laura Cottingham

From Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s sizable directing back catalogue of some 44 films from 1966 to 1982, Fear Eats The Soul is probably his most widely accessible film. Critic Laura Cottingham has put together an extensive tome which pinpoints the reasons why this is one of Fassbinder’s most highly regarded features.

Detailed in this slim-but-perfectly-formed analysis Cottingham provides a tremendous amount of information about this modern classic. She goes into detail about how Douglas Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows was a major inspiration on Fassbinder’s own work which, although well known from various documentaries, it’s still an insightful read both for those familiar with the subject matter and new converts.

What Cottingham manages to include is an easy-to-follow and concise film deconstruction with a visual analysis, that will appeal to both fans of film and academics. Contained within are various impressive high resolution images of the key sequences within the film. As a fan of Fassbinder’s work, this is certainly the most instantly readable critique on one of his films.

Granted, it does contains a lot of information on Fassbinder, all of which can be easily found or sourced from the web. But this is still a quick, enjoyable and well put together read of one of Fassbinder’s more accessible films. It’s also incredibly well written by Cottingham who chooses to stay away from the more technical wordage making it a recommended read for all those interested in this great, and often forgotten, man’s work.

Dominic O’Brien

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