Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A brief holla about Yella...

Possibly contains vague spoilers for Yella. Maybe.

A lot of people seem to hate Yella, at least if you go by the IMDb (but then we all know that's not exactly a wise thing to do). I was more baffled by it than anything- here is a film coming in at a brisk 89 minutes that fills much of its running time up with business meetings in clinical, sparse board rooms, occasionally interrupted by overwhelming, disorientating rushes of sound. Is this what David Lynch films would be like if he'd once been a systems analyst? (Or something, I mean I know nothing about business, which might be why I often zoned out. I mean, "personal capital"? Please. I don't watch movies to be given a business degree.) It seems like it might, especially with its elliptical ending- only here, devoid of Lynch's unique atmospheric aesthetic, said ending seems more a cop-out than anything, if it actually meant what I think it did, which to be honest I'm not sure about. But even if it did, really, I'm not sure that I really think that Yella is up to much- Nina Hoss won Best Actress at the Berlin International Film Festival, and she's fine, but too often the character just seems like a vessel for looking utterly perplexed when the director goes off on one of his interruptus sonorus. The strong plot element of Hoss' eponymous heroine being stalked by her husband adds a strangely farcical element that really doesn't fit with the smooth, eerie atmosphere the rest of the film, with its modern fittings and sleek cars as the main spaces, is trying to project. The film does hold some kind of strange compulsion, though, perhaps through this odd twinning of elliptical theme and straight business, for it's so rare to see a film go off on such a tangent that's so easily described as "dull" and actually manage to make it interesting by threading in into the characters' existances and relationships. The plot elements that form the ending seem to mirror themselves in a way that suggests the kind of justificatory explanation for the whole thing that most people have favoured, and this does indeed make Yella stronger, more than the rather pallid figure it would otherwise project. The film is oddball yet strangely ordinary, mystifying in its business suit, bizarre in its modern sleekness. C+

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