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Yesterday Girl

Alexander Kluge

Yesterday Girl
Alexander Kluge
1966

84 Minutes

Date
June 6–July 17, 2024

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A young girl, Anita G., steals a sweater to keep warm. She serves her sentence, then makes several attempts to start a new life. But after a zigzag escape movement, she ends up in prison again.

Her parents—Jewish—were picked up one morning by the Third Reich. She is from the East of Germany, at the time a separate socialist state. Now she’s freezing her way through the West. Three kinds of Germany.

With Alexandra Kluge as Anita G.

“Kluge—I have just seen the film for the second time because the first impression turned out to be rebellious—does nothing other than communicate a real case in a very real way, so real that it becomes more diverse and without the assumption that the case was exemplary, suddenly exemplary. The story of this young woman is not entirely made up… the first time I watched it, I didn’t understand many steps, accepted them, but didn’t notice them: a university secretary tells the girl that she doesn’t need anything other than the school leaving certificate to enroll, cut, that Girl can’t pay for the hotel room and sneaks out as a carouser. In order to study (the refugee from the East still has to learn this), you not only need a certificate, but also money… even the poetry that this hard film has probably comes from the editing… It’s shocking what the film can do.” —Max Frisch, Süddeutsche Zeitung, October 18, 1966

Category
Film
Subject
Experimental Film, Germany
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Alexander Kluge (b. 1932) is an author, filmmaker, and lawyer. His research and practice revolves around film, literature, social theory, film theory, and political action on various cultural fronts. Kluge is credited with the launch of the New German Cinema movement, and his body of work can be regarded as a continuation of the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School. His first feature film, Yesterday Girl, won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1966. In 1987, Kluge founded the television production company DCTP, which produces independent television slots on German commercial television. In 2008, he presented the almost-nine-hour-long News from Ideological Antiquity: Marx/Eisenstein/Capital—a reinvention of Eisenstein’s unfinished project of filming Capital by Karl Marx. Alexander Kluge’s major works of social criticism include Öffentlichkeit und Erfahrung (Public Sphere and Experience) and History and Obstinacy, both co-written with Oskar Negt. His exhibitions include The Boat is Leaking. The Captain Lied (Fondazione Prada, Venice, 2017), Pluriversum (Museum Folkwang, Essen, 2017; Belvedere 21, Vienna, 2018). Together with the New York poet Ben Lerner, Kluge published The Snows of Venice in 2018. Just in time for the e-flux program in June 2024, his books The Dragonfly’s Eye - My Virtual Camera (AI) (Spector Books) and War Primer (Seagull Books) will be published in English.

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