Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Germany, 1972, 478 min., German w/ English subtitles
Screened with two half-hour breaks
Commissioned to make a working-class family drama, up-and-coming director Rainer Werner Fassbinder took the assignment and ran, upending expectations by depicting social realities in West Germany from a critical—yet far from cynical—perspective. Over the course of several hours, the sprawling story tracks the everyday triumphs and travails of the young toolmaker Jochen (Gottfried John) and the people in his life, including his lover (Hanna Schygulla), his eccentric nuclear family, and his fellow workers attempting to improve conditions on the factory floor. Rarely screened since its popular but controversial initial broadcast, Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day rates as a true discovery, one of Fassbinder's earliest and most tender experiments with the possibilities of melodrama.