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SPECIFICATIONS
  • 1.37:1 Standard
  • German PCM Mono
  • English subtitles
  • 2 Discs
FEATURES
  • “Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day”: A Series Becomes a Family Reunion, a 2017 documentary directed by Juliane Maria Lorenz, featuring interviews with actors Hanna Schygulla, Irm Hermann, Wolfgang Schenck, and Hans Hirschmüller
  • New interview with film scholar Jane Shattuc
  • An essay by scholar Moira Weigel

Eight Hours Don't Make a Day

Blu-ray
Reviewed by: Chris Galloway

Directed By: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
1972 | 495 Minutes | Licensor: Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation

Release Information
Blu-ray | MSRP: $49.95 | Series: The Criterion Collection | Edition: #946
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Release Date: October 9, 2018
Review Date: October 25, 2018

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SYNOPSIS

Commissioned to make a working-class family drama for public television, up-and-coming director Rainer Werner Fassbinder took the assignment and ran, dodging 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.


PICTURE

Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s five-episode television series Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day is presented here on Blu-ray across two dual-layer discs. Made for German television, it is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.37:1, and to adjust for the 25fps frame rate Criterion has encoded the film at 1080p/60hz. No artifacts stand out from the conversion.

Two discs seemed to be pushing it for over nine-hours’ worth of material (plus supplements) but it has been impressively encoded here. It’s not perfect, and some of the issues here could be related to compressing the content to fit two discs, but there is also the possibility these issues are related to other aspects tied to the restoration. The one thing that I didn’t find too pleasant was how the film’s/series’ colours leans heavily on the yellow side of things. Everything really does take on a heavy yellow tint and either this, or the compression, messes with the black levels, which come off flat and a bit crushed. I was mostly impressed with grain, which looks natural and clean a lot of the time, though on occasion, particularly in darker scenes, it looks noisier, less natural.

Restoration wise this is very clean and there isn’t much in the way of damage or marks: it’s primarily limited to what look like hairs that caught in the gate while filming. Outside of these instances I don’t see anything too glaring. In all, maybe spreading the film out over more discs may have helped, but I still ended up being pleasantly surprised by this.

7/10

All Blu-ray screen captures come from the source disc and have been shrunk from 1920x1080 to 900x506 and slightly compressed to conserve space. While they are not exact representations they should offer a general idea of overall video quality.

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AUDIO

The audio, presented in lossless PCM 1.0 mono, is fairly flat and lifeless but generally fine. Voices sound clear, music is good, and the track is clean. During a wedding party in the fourth episode it looks and sounds that the voices were looped over, but this is the only portion where things seem off.

6/10

SUPPLEMENTS

For a two-disc set of a 9-hours series this edition feels a bit slim, containing only two on-disc special features, both of which are found on the second dual-layer disc with episodes 4 and 5 (episodes 1 through 3 take up the first disc).

First is the 42-minute making of ”Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day”: A Series Becomes a Family, which gathers together various members of the cast and crew for interviews on the production. It’s standard fare for this type of thing, offering details about how this production (Fassbinder’s first television series) came about with stories from participants around the production. The documentary works at its best, though, when looking at how the series worked to address political and social concerns of the time (with archival footage of discussions around how the film wasn’t left-leaning enough), on top of archival interview footage with Fassbinder himself talking about the series.

Criterion then adds a new interview with Jane Shattuc. For 20-minutes she talks about the importance of the series in how presented the working class while also looking at the series’ narrative structure and how it was constructed to pull in its audience. To add on to this the included insert features a short essay by Moira Weigel, expanding a bit on the film’s characters and representation of the working class.

Though the material is fine it still feels a bit slim and I almost would have expected more scholarly material outside of Shattuc’s contribution.

4/10

CLOSING

The features leave me wanting a bit more and maybe spreading the series out over at least one more disc would have helped in relation to the final image, but when all is said and done the film has been encoded rather well and it still manages to look impressive here.


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Purchase From:
amazon.com  amazon.ca