"What separates us from yesterday is not a rift but a change in position"
This is the first film I've seen from Alexander Kluge and I had no idea what to expect. As I watched it, my first thoughts were that it had a lot of the French New Wave or was just heavily part of the European Art CinemaI wasn't very sure when it had been made. The documentary, broken approach seemed interesting and completely burst that bubble of the typical cinematic experience were as a viewer I was almost pushed to be part of.
I really appreciate what films like this did to filmmaking, starting with the very purpose and artistic value of films and their contra-position to the common entertaining commercial product films soon became after they were introduced into an industry. These films were necessary to go back to the origins of film and its true essence. Many films of this era abandoned the classic ways of making films and that's how they got closer to the truth of film. I think movies like "The Bicycle Thief" (1948) or "The 400 Blows" (1959) or "Kes" (1969) achieved to capture life in a very honest way. But I feel soon this achievement got corrupted, became a concept and lost its way and awareness. It led to films that broke all the typical rules of filmmaking and spoke of certain societies and real socio-political situations, but, in my humble opinion, I believe they failed to capture life despite of how spontaneous and realistic they tried to be. They created "rules" from their own anti-rules approach and I feel there was just too much ego and ambition in all this. I believe film is not really about characters, stories, music, places, situations, dialogs, etc. not even about all of them put together as it is so commonly believed. Film is much more than that. It captures times and truth in an unique way. And, comparing this very idealistic definition of films and the influence of European Art Cinemaand every other movement of that timeis where my opinion about "Yesterday Girl" comes from. I feel, since this kind of films are very authorial, Alexander Kluge, just like maybe Ingmar Bergman when he made "Summer with Monika" (1953), was struggling between what the audience expected and what his inspiration was telling him to do, especially considering this was his first full-length feature. But despite of all this, which is only ideas that have little to do with the film itself, I think this film is a must-see because if you somehow manage to see beyond a few devised attractions here and there, like the shots of people talking to the camera, sudden cuts, alternate editing with images that contrast against the emotional narrative of the main scene, that in my opinion, still have a sort of beauty and awareness, you might see a substantial beauty and poetry, especially towards the final scenes. And also even before that, there are glimpses of Kluge's own vision and sensitivity which I'm now looking forward to watching more in his films.
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