I finished Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day a few nights ago and I think this might be Fassbinder’s most humanistic work. Honestly I never expected a character like Grandma to show up in a Fassbinder film: she has such an enthusiasm, initiative, and persistence that it’s easy to get caught up in her scheming and swayed by her charm.
One of the aspects I really appreciate is how much the film shows people at their job and how work, and the politics of work, affect their lives: The way frustration at work often carries over into home life. Where I often feel that Fassbinder’s main theme is power dynamics (dominance and submissiveness), which are still relevant in Eight Hours, here he is much less cynical about relationships, choosing to show familial warmth and bonding (even through bickering!). Jochan and Marion’s relationship often centers around discussions of work, with Marion offering clarity to Jochan’s raw ideas and sense of justice.
There are still power dynamics, most obviously in the case of Harald and Monica. But even here Fassbinder offers more depth to the abusive Harald, ultimately showing that his authoritarian violence is a front to his sense of inadequacy.
Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released from Arrow and the films on them.