Personal quarrels and family disputes were cornerstones of early German drama series. Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s mini-series also centres on a family, although their problems are transposed to society: collective bargaining, union meetings, strikes and the struggle for workers’ participation are reflected in the daily working lives and relationships of a family of toolmakers. "Acht Stunden sind kein Tag" ("Eight hours don't make a day") is an example of the so-called "worker film", a genre developed by German broadcaster WDR in the late 1960s. For a short time it enabled filmmakers to address social realities and economic constraints in West Germany.
The series’ main characters represent three generations whose attitudes to life range from progressive to conservative. The tone has a typical melodramatic feel as Fassbinder deconstructs the perfect world atmosphere that pervaded early post-war productions, and anticipates many of the themes of his later films featuring women. Luise Ullrich, a well-known screen actress in Germany in the 1950s, plays Gran, and Hanna Schygulla a lowly office worker. These two women are struggling for solidarity, but also for their own personal happiness.
Source: 67. Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin (Catalogue)