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AN ABUNDANCE OF FLOWERS

Acht Stunden sind kein Tag (Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day), 1972–73, still from Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s TV show on WDR. Episode 1, “Jochen and Marion.” Jochen Epp (Gottfried John) and Marion Andreas (Hanna Schygulla).

OPENING WITH the explosion of a champagne cork that unleashes a chain reaction of casual domestic violence mixed with drunken laughter, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Acht Stunden sind kein Tag (Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day)—a five-episode series made in 1972 for Westdeutscher Rundfunk, the largest of Germany’s regional television broadcasters—identifies the good guys and the meanies in the first two minutes. It was Fassbinder’s first major TV work; in the previous seven years, he had made fourteen feature films as well as numerous plays that defined him as not only the most prolific but also the most politically audacious, toughminded, and aesthetically inventive postwar German artist working in narrative media. At that moment, producing a TV series for a mainstream audience was the most radical move he could make.

Restored in 2017 by the Fassbinder Foundation and finally released

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