You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Berlin: Fassbinder’s Restored TV Series ‘Day’ Dawns for New Audiences

The 60th Berlinale successfully premiered the restored version of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s three-part TV series “World on a Wire.” Now, seven years later, the Festival and the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation offer a special presentation of the newly restored, 478-minute, five-part “Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day,” created in 1972 for Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) network. The series, Fassbinder’s first for television, and the last of his major works to be restored, “not only established a new genre for German television but also signaled a major new development in the career of a great contemporary filmmaker,” says Juliane Lorenz, president of the Fassbinder Foundation.

Tasked with creating a new type of family series about the life of the working class, the then-27-year-old Fassbinder did away with the conventional separation between private and professional life, achieving a seamless interconnection between domesticity and workplace activity. Lorenz notes, “Alongside themes common to family series such as interpersonal disputes and misunderstandings, and love stories, ‘Eight Hours’ dealt with such issues, then foreign to television, as solidarity in the workplace, the hierarchical structure of the working world, educational opportunities for workers, free public transport, high rents, and even anti-authoritarian approaches to [raising children].”

Fassbinder was less interested in presenting social realities and educating the public than in motivating it to change the extant reality. In a 1973 interview, he said that rather than analysis, his focus was on “cultivating courage, presenting the situation as full of promise rather than hopeless, showing people that the group provides possibilities not available to the individual, which is a wonderful thing and can lead to something new.”

The production employed Fassbinder’s usual ensemble of actors, including Hanna Schygulla, Irm Herrmann, Kurt Raab, Margit Carstensen, Hans Hirschmüller, Karl Scheydt, and Rudolf-Waldemar Brem, and it provided his first collaboration with lanky leading actor Gottfried John, who subsequently played many significant roles in his films. The production was also important in firming his relationship with WDR commissioning producer Peter Märthesheimer, who would go on to produce Fassbinder’s feature films “The Marriage of Maria Braun,” “Veronika Voss,” and “Lola,” and the epic television series “Berlin Alexanderplatz,” as well as “World on a Wire.” In the book “Chaos as Usual: Conversations About Rainer Werner Fassbinder,” Märthesheimer recalls, “We had anticipated 105 days of filming and he wrapped after 97 days. He was incredibly disciplined. . . Rainer knew just how to cater to the WDR crew. Everybody loved him: his pace, his precision, the power of his artistic expression.”

German director-writer-artist Ulrike Ottinger, a near contemporary of Fassbinder, remembers,

“At that time, only few people had television, so for that kind of film, a bunch of friends would meet in order to watch together, followed by lively discussions.” Ottinger especially liked the way the daily-life talk of the working-class characters was transformed into an artificial language as in the early Fassbinder theater plays. She notes, “This effect was underlined by the actor`s expressions and performance. The films were dealing with very simple questions such as what it means to work for others, even in a Marxist sense. What I particularly liked as well was the use of kitschy elements, clichés and music citations normally used for family series on TV. But in this context they got somehow transformed.”

“Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day” is preserved as a 16mm original reversal positive. This material was digitized and restored under the artistic direction of Lorenz by Arri in 2K resolution.

More Film

  • Come as You Are review

    SXSW Film Review: 'Come as You Are'

    The rare remake that’s actually a slight improvement on its predecessor, Richard Wong’s “Come as You Are” translates Geoffrey Enthoven’s 2011 Belgian “Hasta la Vista” to middle America. Other changes are less substantial, but this seriocomedy has a less formulaic feel than the original while remaining a crowd-pleasing buddy pic-caper with a soft-pedaled minority empowerment [...]

  • Strange Negotiations review

    SXSW Film Review: 'Strange Negotiations'

    In a era when some mainstream entertainers have transitioned to targeting faith-based audiences, David Bazan is moving in the other direction. The gifted songwriter’s ersatz band Pedro the Lion was perhaps the most successful Christian indie rock act of its time, and the first to significantly cross over to secular fans. Then he ditched that persona (and [...]

  • Bluebird review

    SXSW Film Review: ‘Bluebird’

    As affectionate as a love letter but as substantial as an infomercial, Brian Loschiavo’s “Bluebird” may be of most interest to casual and/or newly converted country music fans who have occasionally wondered about the songwriters behind the songs. There’s a better than even-money chance that anyone who’s a loyal and longtime aficionado of the musical [...]

  • ‘Wonder Park’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad

    ‘Wonder Park’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending for the Fourth Week in a Row

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Paramount Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the fourth week in row with “Wonder Park.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.18 million through Sunday for 1,718 national [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan Jordan Vogt-Roberts

    Film News Roundup: Michael B. Jordan, Jordan Vogt-Roberts Team for Monster Movie

    In today’s film news roundup, Michael B. Jordan is producing a creature feature, billiards champ Cisero Murphy is getting a movie, the sixth Terminator movie gets a title, and Graham King receives an honor. PROJECT UNVEILED Related 'Captain Marvel' and 'Dumbo' Show Off the Versatility of Cinematographer Ben Davis Austrian-Produced Gangster Drama ‘Big Bones’ Wins [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Nicolas Cage to Star in Martial Arts Actioner 'Jiu Jitsu'

    Nicolas Cage will star in the martial arts actioner “Jiu Jitsu,” based on the comic book of the same name. The cast will also include Alain Moussi, who stars in the “Kickboxer” franchise. Dimitri Logothetis is producing with Martin Barab and directing from a script he wrote with Jim McGrath. Highland Film Group is handling [...]

  • Chinese success of Thai film "Bad

    Chinese, Thai Shingles Pact for Co-Production Fund at FilMart

    A deal to establish a 100 million yuan ($14.9 million) co-production fund between China and Thailand was struck at FilMart on Tuesday to help launch TV and film projects that will appeal to Chinese and Southeast Asian audience. The deal that was struck by China’s Poly Film Investment Co., TW Capital from Thailand and Thai [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content