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Michael Des Barres
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María Antonia Martínez
Yo tells the intriguing story of Hans, who moves from Germany to Mallorca to take up a job as a groundsman on a large estate. Lost (in more ways than one) from the moment he arrives in the small town, Hans struggles against a bleak and somewhat ominous atmosphere from the word go. None of the locals seem interested in his attempts at conversation, and those who do engage with him can't seem to remember his name which becomes even stranger when one realises that the previous groundsman was also named Hans.
The first Hans was a dominant, somewhat dangerous character, and his shadow hangs heavy over the new Hans as he tries to forge his own place in the community. In a village where names seem to define not just identity but also station, Hans struggles to keep himself distinct from his predecessor in the minds of both the villagers and himself.
A fascinating and disturbing film, Yo has something to say about how circumstance and the opinions of others can come to define us. Well made and making excellent use of light and mis-en-scene (especially reflections, and that door to old Hans' bedroom that can never seem to stay closed), the film's subtle air of menace keeps one on edge even during the most innocuous of scenes.
Alex Brendemuhl as Hans nails his character's gradually escalating confusion and frustration, and brings an endearing dorkiness to Hans, which contrasts nicely with the "ladies man" reputation of the old Hans. Without spoiling the climax, I can say that it poses more questions than it answers; Yo is sure to leave everyone who sees it talking about it for days.
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