Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day: Part 1

Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day: Part 1

Director: Rainier Werner Fassbinder

1972, Germany, 478 minutes

Cast: Gottfried John, Hanna Schygulla, Luise Ullrich

Program Notes

MASTERS OF LONG-FORM CINEMA returns with a rare TV gem from German cinema’s prolific and inimitable Rainer Werner Fassbinder! The five episodes of Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day will be shown in 3 parts and screen twice in full. A true masterwork not to be missed!


“A neglected masterpiece. Here is a work that—in the generosity of its scope and the sophistication of its staging—makes Mr. Fassbinder look more inventive than just about any filmmaker working today… For sheer joy per minute of film, there’s nothing playing now that comes close.”
— Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times, NYT CRITIC’S PICK

“To do justice to Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day in this space would be impossible, so it will have to suffice to say that its emergence represents nothing less than the discovery of a vital missing link in the director’s filmography, one that may represent Fassbinder’s clearest vision of an achievably, incrementally better world.”
— Nick Pinkerton, Film Comment


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 many of the people populating his world, including the woman he loves (Hanna Schygulla), his eccentric nuclear family, and his fellow workers, with whom he bands together 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.


Over the decades, many filmmakers have rejected the narrow range of running times favored by the marketplace and treated the film screen as an expanded canvas for long-form expression. The SNF Parkway is proud to host this monthly series presenting film masterworks new and old, from visionary landmarks of slow cinema to 21st Century poetic epics. Each film will screen twice, with weekend matinee and weekday evening options.


This film will be shown in its entirety on 5/20 and in three parts on 5/26, 5/28, & 5/31.

This page represents Part 1 of the film, which includes Episodes 1 & 2.
For Part 2 (Episodes 3 & 4) see this page.
For Part 3 (Episode 5) see this page.