EIGHT HOURS DON'T MAKE A DAY
ACHT STUNDEN SIND KEIN TAG
1972, Janus Films, 478 min, West Germany, Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

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.


EFFI BRIEST
FONTANE - EFFI BRIEST
1974, Janus Films, 140 min, Germany, Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

Adapted from Theodor Fontane’s novel of the same name, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s richly textured period piece showcases the director’s ability to give traditional source material his own iconoclastic edge. In this 19th century-set tale, 17-year-old Effi Briest (Hanna Schygulla) lives with the older Baron von Instetten in a spookily isolated Baltic manor. Left alone much of the time and with a newly born daughter, Effi begins to enjoy the “company” of handsome Major Crampas (Ulli Lommel), but it is only a matter of time before the baron’s suspicions escalate to violent consequences. Winner of the 1974 InterFilm Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, and named one of the 1,000 best films of all time by the New York Times. In German with English subtitles.


LOVE IS COLDER THAN DEATH
LIEBE IST KÄLTER ALS DER TOD
1969, Janus Films, 88 min, Germany, Dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

In Fassbinder's stark, sardonic debut feature, small-time Munich pimp Franz Walsch (played by an uncredited Fassbinder) relishes his entrepreneurial independence and refuses to join the local mob, despite its allure of greater cash flow and stability. When Franz is befriended by mysterious crook Bruno (Ulli Lommel), the two go on a small but frenzied crime spree of theft and murder, along with Franz's prostitute girlfriend Joanna (Hanna Schygulla). But as Franz plans another robbery, this time a more elaborate heist, the allegiances of the trio begin to break down. Why did Bruno seek out Franz in the first place? And is Joanna's jealous distrust leading her to make other plans? In German with English subtitles.


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