Yella (2007)

2 07 2008

Pretty much a failure on all fronts, even more so because this is Christian Petzold’s follow-up to the great Gespenster. All the minor annoyances in that film become the basis for this, and the result is nothing more than a technically well-executed film not far from a conventional Hollywood thriller. It does maintain a passable sensibility for about an hour but the fact that Petzold would choose to make a film so shrill and well, silly just negates any other positive aspects of the film.

Yella is desperately trying to get her violent ex-husband, Ben, off her back but it simply is impossible. He follows her everyone in spite of a restraining order and when Yella goes for a job interview, he offers her a ride. She reluctantly agrees and unsurprisingly, Ben quickly gets angry which results in the car falling off the side of the bridge. Yella escapes unscathed while Ben is presumably dead. Her first day at work is an odd one as the man who has hired her seems to be in the process of being fired. He transfers her to another branch where she begins a partnership with Philipp. Their extended time together helps their relationship to grow, but Ben continues to linger in Yella’s head.

Spoiling the ending would probably be helpful as it would save many people a lot of time. The film’s few positive moments, though, are (as expected) the ones that have nothing to do with the completely predictable Hollywood thriller narrative. Essentially, the awkward interactions and the beautiful photography are the only signs of this being a Petzold film. Everything else is pretty embarrassing, especially considering that Petzold could still very well be one of our greatest hopes in cinema. On the other hand, it does seem like he pieced this together rather half-heartedly which would indicate that he wasn’t too concerned with this particular project. Hopefully, his next effort will provide a better showcase for his talents.

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