A time capsule that someway reveals a uncared for masterpiece each decade, the again catalog of the prolific German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder (1945-82) retains on giving.
In 2010, the rediscovery of his science fiction mini-series “World on a Wire” confirmed that he had gotten the soar on “Inception” by virtually 40 years. Now “Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day,” a five-episode collection proven on West German tv in 1972 and 1973, arrives at Movie Discussion board, the place it’s screening in three chunks. As soon as once more, here’s a work that — within the generosity of its scope and the sophistication of its staging — makes Mr. Fassbinder look extra ingenious than simply about any filmmaker working right now.
Screened earlier this yr at MoMA’s “To Save and Challenge” pageant, “Eight Hours” has performed in the USA earlier than. The New York Instances reported its presence in a program on the Museum of Broadcasting in 1983, at the least. However the brand new restoration, from the unique 16-millimeter movie, in all probability represents the perfect it’s ever seemed, given its authentic airing on tube tv. (Motion pictures-versus-TV debates inevitably hit a wall with Mr. Fassbinder, whose broadcast dramas had a behavior of turning up theatrically exterior his residence nation.)
But this so-called “household collection,” an ensemble portrait of an prolonged clan in a West German metropolis, can also be a whole shock — funnier, extra humane and extra optimistic than something within the Fassbinder canon. The plot pivots on the connection between Jochen (Gottfried John) and Marion (the ever-luminous Hanna Schygulla), a working-class couple who meet cute when he helps her to extract a caught pickle jar from a merchandising machine. Quickly, to the delight of Jochen’s household and the tut-tutting of Marion’s busybody colleague (Irm Hermann), Marion has dumped her white-collar boyfriend for Jochen, they usually set about constructing a life.
Anybody conversant in the doomed fruit vendor of Mr. Fassbinder’s “The Merchant of Four Seasons,” the luckless lottery winner of his “Fox and His Friends,” or the Weimar-era ne’er-do-well hero of his “Berlin Alexanderplatz” (with Mr. John as a villain as treacherous as Jochen is good-hearted) is forgiven for anticipating the worst. Whereas few characters in “Eight Hours” wind up lifeless or humiliated, it’s not as if Mr. Fassbinder’s bleak worldview has totally gone away.
That “Eight Hours” is a comedy — or maybe a tragedy stopped quick — owes one thing to each design and probability. In response to the movie scholar Brad Prager, Mr. Fassbinder told a contemporaneous interviewer that he wished to depart a broad TV viewers with a way that the world was stuffed with potentialities. Alternatively, West German tv, which commissioned the venture, pulled the plug earlier than the director was in a position to movie the final three episodes, through which he had deliberate to decrease the hammer.