|YESTERDAY GIRL (ABSCHIED VON GESTERN) (ANITA G.) (director/writer: Alexander Kluge; screenwriter: based on the story Anita G. by Alexander Kluge; cinematographers: Thomas Mauch/Edgar Reitz; editor: Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus; cast: Alexandra Kluge (Anita G.), Gunther Mack (Pichota), Eva Maria Meineke (Mrs. Pichota), Hans Korte (Judge), Hans Brammer (The Professor), Peter Staimmer (Young Man), Fritz Werner (Fur salon owner), Joseph Kreindle (Record company's owner), Edith Kuntze-Pellogio (Parole Board Officer), Ado Rigler (Priest), Palma Falck (Mrs. Budeck), Alexander Kluge (Narrator); Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Kairos Film; Facets Video; 1966-West Germany-in German with English Subtitles)|
example of the New German cinema."
by Dennis Schwartz
debut feature film of auteur Alexander Kluge ("Occasional
Work of a Female Slave"/"The Patriotic Woman"/"Germany
in Autumn") is an early example of the New German
cinema. It's based on an actual case Kluge encountered
as a lawyer. The low-budget black-and-white film,
influenced by Godard's fast-cut editing style, is an
acerbic comedy that satires modern Germany for trying
to sweep its horrible recent past under the rug. It
won the Venice Special Jury Prize in 1966.
G. (Alexandra Kluge, the director's
sister) is a listless and amoral
22-year-old Jewish woman, who left East Germany nine
years ago to make a better life for herself in West
Germany and couldn't. Though there's an economic boom
in the west and she has the training to be a nurse or
a typist, she can't settle down and find work. Instead
she becomes such things as a petty thief, the mistress
of a feckless married civil servant (Gunther
Mack), a prostitute and wanders from place
to place, carrying all her belongings in a suitcase as
she runs away from paying rent to her landlady and the
hotel manager before they can confiscate her
belongings. After many episodes with a variety of dull
stereotypical urban characters she encounters, the
titular heroine sadly can't get the professional help
she needs for her lingering problems from her
childhood and seems doomed to be on a path of ruin.
Unable to be rehabilitated by those in social services
who are clueless, the former resident of Leipzig is
viewed as a lost soul by an uncaring society that
hypocritically pretends it wants to help her but
told in the film's opening that "What
separates us from yesterday is not a rift but a change
in position."After the climax scene, where Anita goes
to prison for a five-year sentence for shoplifting,
we're told that "we're all to blame for everything."
pic is told with intelligence, wit, terseness and a
good sense of historical oversight, and it always
seems fresh and not bound by a political agenda.
REVIEWED ON 3/10/2014 GRADE: B+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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