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Abschied von gestern - (Anita G.) is clearly the German answer to À bout de soufflé (released six years earlier) by Godard. Even more: it is as if Godard had made a German version of his own production. It's the experimental drive for ANYTHING. Neue Welle!
I just name some of the daring tricks that for a reason did not become common in cinema: showing, after an abrupt transition, photographs or drawings; inserting voice-overs during a dialogue; changing the volume of the sound during a scene; reading the lines from a note. And so on. We also see a murder without context (dream?), a finger is pierced by a stiletto heel and milk flows out of the finger (surrealism?), and there's a scene with toy soldiers. There's lack of structure all over, but there is still a common thread: she, who is always on the road.
Anyhow, director Alexander Kluge took every bit of freedom he could with his first real film. His actors went with it, including his sister Alexandra, who plays Anita G. They probably filmed EVERYTHING that came on their paths: a dog training, a visit to a bar, scenes on the streets. 'Alexander, I'm going to rest in a park.' 'No, wait, I take the camera, we can shoot a scene there!'
That said, the film lacks for me the frivolous and intuitive from the original (Godard), though it does strikes gold once in a while. The affair of only two seconds was beautiful. At the staircase there is an intimate conversation between a man and Anita G.. Next second, while having dinner, a woman asks the man: 'Is she a redhead?' The most interesting thing about the film is that it pauses history for a second: this is the life of an ordinary but adventurous woman in the sixties in Germany.
If this film wasn't so excessively experimental, and there were 'regular' ideas intertwined, it could have been a classic. Now, for me, is it is just one of the Godard-like films. It's a shame that Alexandra would only play in one other film (also from her brother) while her pleasure in acting is evident here. Alexander got a career as a critic, started a film school (Ulm Institut für Filmgestaltung) and made A LOT of shorts. At this point, Kluge is in his eighties. I rate it 7/10, mostly for courage.
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