The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, April 6-12

yesterday-girl

Yesterday Girl (1966)
Directed by Alexander Kluge
Kluge’s Abschied von Gestern won the Silver Lion in Venice in 1966, which didn’t stop German university students from pelting the director with eggs in 1968. Kluge’s crime was, roughly, a critique of capitalism that wasn’t critical enough, or was too capitalist. As far as Yesterday Girl goes, the critique is mordantly observant and absorbing: Anita G., a 22-year-old Jewish girl raised in East Germany, has made it to the West—where she is frustrated in every attempt to earn, steal, or seduce her way to a respectable living. In Kluge’s postwar Federal Republic, such a living is synonymous with amassing commodities, from coats and cardigans to university degrees and real estate. In a way, this early product of the New German Cinema was an in-house production—Kluge was adapting a short story he wrote himself, and he cast his sister Alexandra, in the title role. Like Anna Karina, Alexandra K. looks at the absurd world with huge droll eyes, and becomes the motor of a film full of documentary footage, opera outtakes, quotes from Dostoyevsky. But as that last element should indicate, she gets to have a lot less fun. Elina Mishuris (April 8, 7pm; April 14, 4pm at MoMA’s “Germany 66”)

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