Yesterday Girl (West Germany series)

Wednesday, 8 January

Yesterday Girl (West Germany series)

Short url:

YESTERDAY GIRL   1966 (Abschied von gestern) Directed by Alexander Kluge 88 minutes In German with English subtitles

Filmmaker Alexander Kluge today is largely seen as the filmmaker who kicked off what came to be called the New German Cinema. He was the spokesperson for the legendary Oberhausen Manifesto that called for a new spirit in German filmmaking. Yesterday Girl was his first feature film, and it lead the way for other movies to come, pushing cinema in new directions. These films have such a sense of freedom and vitality that they make everything Netflix pumps out seem outdated and trashy as hell. I hate to point this out, but today we get a has-been like Martin Scorsese doing publicity for even Netflix. "They allow me to do whatever I want." Then why do all those products on Netflix, look, think, and feel the same? Where is the diversity? Sorry to digress, but things like this have to be mentioned every once in a while. And the reason I do these cinemas is to create an alternative.

The beauty of a movie like Yesterday Girl lies in Kluge's skill to take aspects of experimental cinema and inject them into narrative movies. This story focuses on Anita G, a young woman from East Germany who has broken away from her past and flees to the west. She quickly learns that things are not so easy in the west either, where she is arrested for stealing a sweater... an event that leads to a chain of events that spells her downfall. Through her adventures, Anita also becomes a metaphor for West Germany itself, a country that wants to run away from its Nazi past in the Second World War. Anita wants to "eliminate yesterday from today" but Kluge shows that escaping the past isn't so easy.

This film stars Kluge's sister Alexandra, who was showered with awards for her performance in this film. Actually she wasn't an actress at all, just a medical student. This film works on many levels, but one of them is an exploration of the false promises of capitalism, a hard lesson many East Germans would learn when the Berlin wall fell almost 25 years later. It's a great film, with a free-form approach to cinema and a piercing lead performance. The series of events is based on director Alexander Kluge's own short story he had published three years earlier called Anita G.

A free booklet I've penned, called "Goodbye to Yesterday", will be available at this screening.


Date & Time: 

Wednesday, 8 January, 2020 - 19:30


  • film


  • free
Goethe Institute
1017 CA Amsterdam

Weekly programme of film screenings in a circuit of underground / self-organised venues. Forgotten movies that should have been classics, neglected flics, lesser-known gems, always with a personal introduction by the programmer. All films in English, or with English subtitles.


  • film

opening times: 

mostly Sunday to Thursday at about 7 different underground locations.