Breaking up is hard to do, especially if you're postwar Germany. LACMA's survey "Torn Curtain: The Two Germanys on Film" enters its closing weekend with Yesterday Girl
, Alexander Kluge's energetic 1966 portrait of an East German emigre floundering in the West. Buffeted from one job and affair to the next, the spirited Anita G. becomes a stand-in for the percolating anxieties and upheaval of a prosperous, amnesiac era. But instead of moping, Kluge's compact, Breathless -style storytelling goes all-out to keep up with his agitated young heroine, through hit-and-run plotting, mordant wit, montages and even time-lapse photography. Anita is resilient and a little reckless, taking potshots against the system (splurging on furs under her boss's name) and playing fast and loose with rent. Yet she also has to lock horns with a judge who brushes off her travails as the daughter of Jews, and the film rolls out a whole line-up of dismissive authority figures. She's at peace (like many of us) when in love, as with a caring cultural attachÃ© who warbles opera to her, but her story slides inexorably from manic to depressive. Kluge titled his film Goodbye to Yesterday
in the original German, but the filmmaker -- a key figure in the New German Cinema and a voluminous public intellectual -- knows his way around history's ironies. Also closing out LACMA's diverse series is the feminist classic The All-Around Reduced Personality (a kind of 1977 cousin to Anita G.) and two Berlin-set suspense thrillers. The museum's related art exhibition "Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures" continues through April.
Fri., Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m., 2009