Unreleased in the United States until now, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s epic 1972 mini-series, “Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day,” is finally headed to American shores — with a fresh restoration to boot — thanks to New York City’s own Film Forum. The family drama will enjoy a two-week engagement at the movie house, with all 476 minutes gloriously accounted for.
“Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day” includes some of the German auteur’s favorite stars, including Hanna Schygulla, Gottfried John, Irm Hermann, and Kurt Raab. And yet it’s a change of pace for the typically dark-skewing filmmaker, piling on some of his usual obsessions — class issues, money issues, fraught relationships, very different people pushed up against each other — yet still emerging with a much more optimistic worldview than we normally associate with the prolific Fassbinder. It’s not exactly light, but it’s about as light as he ever got, and the results are wholly surprising and satisfying.
The series is mostly occupied with the relationship between Jochen (John) and Marion (Schygulla), tracing it from its very beginnings (a meet-cute involving a vending machine), and expands out to follow the path of their domestic lives together and the other people that populate it. Eight hours don’t make a day, and the series is interested in giving just as much life to the non-working hours. That’s where people live, after all.
The series was digitally restored from the reversal positive by ARRI, under the direction of Juliane Maria Lorenz. Check out the new trailer for the film’s restoration and release below.
The mini-series will have a 2-week engagement, March 14 – 27, at Film Forum, 209 West Houston Street, West of 6th Avenue. It will be screened in three parts. Part 1 (202 mins.) and Part 2 (184 mins.) are separate admission. Part 3 (90 mins.) is free of charge for the viewers of the other two parts.