Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Every Day (1929)

Courtesy of the Estate of Hans Richter

Main image of Every Day (1929)
35mm, black and white, 17 mins
DirectorHans Richter
Production CompanyFilm Society
CollaboratorLen Lye
Original Score byRobert Naughton

Cast: Sergei Eisenstein (policeman); Basil Wright; Michael Hankinson

Show full cast and credits

Experimental documentary focusing on a day in the life of city workers, featuring montage sequences and repetition to emphasise the monotony of routine office work.

Show full synopsis

Every Day was a film that German avant-garde filmmaker Hans Richter made as part of a film production course run by the Film Society. It features filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein playing a policeman, while Len Lye and Basil Wright provided technical assistance. These contributions reflect the sense of internationalism occurring at this time in British film circles. The film was completed in 1929 under the title The Daily Round, but was never released because Richter was unhappy with the result. Richter began to rework the film in 1975, but died before its completion. It was finally restored, with the addition of a soundtrack, after his death.

Richter made his name making purely abstract films, but had started to become interested in social issues in the late 1920s, which led to him working with more concrete material. Every Day is an avant-garde documentary, which portrays the world of white-collar work in an experimental manner. A series of daily events are portrayed - such as getting out of bed, going to work, working, and seeking entertainment in the evening - but are made strange by the continual use of repetition, montage and fragmented imagery.

Every Day depicts the everyday world of office work as dull and mechanical: repetitive work tasks are often repeated to stress this, while continual shots of an office clock emphasise tedium and slavery to routine. The way in which the film builds up an increasingly escalating editing tempo suggests that the monotonous routine is leading to inner tension.

At one stage in the film there is a brief respite from the dull routine, which is portrayed through stop-motion photography. This occurs at lunchtime when a close up of a meal is shown: food begins to move around the plate as though dancing. Here, inanimate objects assume lifelike properties and revolt against daily routine, thus expressing the sublimated desires of the workers. The idea of inanimate objects taking on a life of their own had already been portrayed by Richter in his earlier film, Ghosts Before Breakfast (Germany, 1926).

Towards the end of Every Day Richter begins to repeat previous elements of the film, but at a faster pace. Such a strategy reinforces the prevailing mood of tension and also indicates that every day is the same. Workers at a cigarette factory and telephone operators are also intercut with these repetitions, as though stressing the rather repetitive nature of most daily work.

Jamie Sexton

Click titles to see or read more

Video Clips
1. Off to work (1:46)
2. At work (3:19)
3. Day after day (6:53)
20s-30s Avant-Garde