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Directed by Christian Petzold

Germany, 2007

HOME, 7 November 2016


This film could be called a metaphysical drama; I’d file it under ‘Intriguing and Interesting’.

Yella is a woman who splits with her partner and gets a new job in another city… or maybe not, maybe she stays put.

Here is my predicament. To enjoy a film you have to buy into it: allow the emotion to assume an empathetic weight, assign the characters’ actions a moral weight, and so on. If you don’t, any film is meaningless; a mere flicker of light on the screen. Without giving too much away, my problem with Yella lies with its ending. You realise that your trust, your empathy, has been misplaced. You’ve been conned. The film has missold its goods.

It is an intriguing ending, to be sure, which makes use of Ouspensky’s ideas about time. But the consequence is that the director avoids confronting Yella’s fate. And her actions – at one point, she tries to extort money from a guy – are now throwaway, disposable and inconsequential. Trivial.

Think of a guy who raises a series of questions, convinces you of their importance, then scarpers without making any attempt to answer them. That, in essence, is the nature of my annoyance with the film.

Yella was shown as part of Berlin Now.