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A strange "rite de passage"!
am 12. Juli 2017
Films of the so-called "Berlin School" (Petzold,Arslan,Schanelec) in the last years frequently represented the German cinema at international festivals, and not with small success. Reactions were often similar: Accolades from the critics, especially those from France, while the non-professional spectators mostly were at a loss with the film because of the slow and fragmented storytelling, the long scenes without cutting, the concentration on close-ups and the staging of space.
All that applies also to "Yella", which for many was the favorite for the "Golden Bear" at the Berlinale 2007, but ended up only with a absolutely deserved "Silver Bear" for the fantastic Nina Hoss.
"Yella" is some kind of finale to Petzold's "Geister-Trilogie", to which also belong "Die innere Sicherheit" and "Gespenster"; films, which are situated in a clearly outlined reality,but whose protagonists glide through their life like phantoms,unseizable and themselves unable to build a relation to the surrounding world. The story itself is quite simple and more or less superficial: Yella, living in East Germany and married to a man whose business is near to bankruptcy, has applied for a job in West Germany and plans to leave her past life behind her. Her husband offers to drive her to the station and after having tried in vain to talk her into staying with him and starting their relationship new , he purposely drives the car through the railing of a bridge into the water. They both manage to get to the bank. Yella then disappears and takes the trip to the west. She doesn't get the promised job, but because of her knowledge of dealing with accounts and her appearance, she gets the job of assistant to a specialist for venture capital. (the film gives brilliant insights into the world of globalized capitalism dominated by greed, betrayal and blackmailing).
Yella comes to enjoy the power and the success. It seems that she made it: A profitable job and a new man in her life. But she ruins it all by her own abnormal ambition fed by love. Well, then there is the end,which displeased so many spectators and was called pretentious, illogical or simply stuck on. But if one watches the film carefully and pays attention to all the visual and acoustic guiding themes, it is logic and convincing.
A formally stern, deliberately cool and strangely mesmerizing lyrical film.