A war crime from World War II. An artist who wants to make a film about it in Soviet-era Lithuania. Is the script from one of the perpetrators? A fascinating reappraisal of history incorporating elements of Cold War thriller, a contemplative study of the limits of process of mourning and the emotional bankruptcy that followed the Shoah.
1964. The director Gutauskas, who has returned from exile in the West, wants to make a feature film about the “Lietukis Garage Massacre” in Kaunas, in which civilians murdered countless Jews under the supervision of Wehrmacht soldiers in June 1941. The script is so realistic that Gutauskas is targeted by the KGB as a possible accomplice. The crime scene photographer Gluosnis also harbours a secret from this time. Memory, guilt and paranoia keep the film's characters firmly under their spell. “You are nothing without your memories.” What Gutauskas means as a blessing has long been a curse to those around him. Yesterday breaks into the present in exact black and white images. With this film adaptation of a short story by Antanas Škėma, Jurgis Matulevičius has managed to come up with a multifaceted feature film debut about individual and collective war trauma. He deals with history in a dark, fascinating way, in the process interweaving cinematic genres as well as historical epochs. KS