“A brilliantly layered chamber drama about an eccentric family and their economic and cultural environment, which functions as both trenchant social critique and populist entertainment.”
—Aliza Ma, Film Comment
The recent restoration of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s long-unseen television miniseries Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day is a gift for cinephiles and for anyone who appreciates a beautifully articulated family drama. Meet the Krugers, headed by a spirited sixty-year-old widow (Luise Ullrich), who is best understood by her twentysomething grandson (Gottfried John) and his new girlfriend Marion (Hanna Schygulla). Through the story of this working-class family, Fassbinder, who worked on the script for a year, addresses many sociopolitical issues facing postwar West Germany, including the high cost of housing, labor conditions, and prejudice against minorities. However, it is the narrative’s elliptical style, nuanced use of foreshadowing, elements of surprise, and first-rate performances by the marvelous troupe of actors (Kurt Raab, Irm Hermann, Margit Carstensen, Hans Hirschmüller, Karl Scheydt, Rudolf-Waldemar Brem, and others) that distinguish this compelling work. Fassbinder’s deep appreciation of the melodramas of Douglas Sirk (like All That Heaven Allows, screening at BAMPFA March 25 and 30) informs the style and emotional character of Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day.
Filmed on location at a factory in Cologne, Eight Hours was originally planned as an eight-part series; however, because of criticism from German trade unions, who felt misrepresented by Fassbinder’s depiction, the final three episodes were never filmed. The five-episode miniseries aired on West German television in 1973 to an audience of six million viewers and represented a major achievement for Fassbinder. This restoration by the Fassbinder Foundation and the Museum of Modern Art fills in a pivotal period of Fassbinder’s remarkable career, which spanned film, television, and theater. BAMPFA presents each episode twice, including a marathon screening aptly scheduled on Mother’s Day.
Susan Oxtoby, Senior Film Curator
Special discount for tickets to the complete series (available for on-site purchases only):
General admission: $35
UC Berkeley students: $20
BAMPFA members: $25
UC Berkeley faculty and staff, non-UC Berkeley students, disabled persons, ages 65+ and 18 & under: $30