Yella (2007) Poster

(2007)

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7/10
intriguing
magus-916 February 2007
Petzold is a very controlled and composed film-maker. In this film, as in GESPENSTER, he uses this almost forensic calm and diurnal realism to explore metaphysical issues. So this film, which ostensibly takes place in the aggressive financial world of mergers and acquisitions, is also a film about death, the soul, and guilt. It is a great challenge to look at these intangible themes through the prism of a very tangible, concrete world - but this Petzold does achieve, with beautifully composed and controlled imagery, and even a nice line in wry, ironic humour. There are some great performances in the film - they draw you part of the way in, but nevertheless there is still some distance between viewer and film. This maybe results in a slightly cold viewing experience, but the film has stayed with me long after its end - it is a complex and highly rewarding work, if mainly in retrospect.
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10/10
The fragile time before the brain stops
hasosch23 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
This is an attempt at an interpretation to a movie which I consider a highlight amongst the movies released in the last couple of years. Since an interpretation implies spoilers, my text is full of them. However, given the chance that I am wrong, the spoilers are dissolving by reading. Therefore, best read this text after you have watched "Yella".

It is a gruesome picture that we can see in older European movies: The farmer grabs a ax and cuts off the head of the poor chicken. Whenever such a situation is portrayed truthfully, then one sees that the trunk of the chicken still flutters around for a good bit of time, before the heart stops and gives the final release out of life. All this you do not see in this movie, thanks the heaven, but the question arises what happens in the brain when the body is dead. Is it true that the death of the heart blows out the last gleaming of brain-activities, or is it rather so, that there are relays in the brain that gather all the present information together, not according to the logic of logic, but to the logic of our dreams, everything unreeling in enormous speed until the brain stops because the last feedbacks from the heart-streams who are still in the body, are ebbed away? After Yella is more or less hijacked by her former husband, he wants to kill him- and herself by driving with the car over a bridge and precipitating into the river. However, we see, how first Yella and then Ben come out, exhausted but alive. Interestingly enough, shortly after, Yella reaches the train that she wanted to take for getting to her new job: Not only was the place of the accident far away from the railway-station, but neither did she loose her high-heels in the water nor are her stockings dirty. The three "clue-men" she meets in and around her new job belong to the same type of men. In the hotel, nobody knows about the reservation of her room that she had made some days ago. In a conference with business partners she knows like a psychic that these partners are betrayers and have even profited from the bankruptcy of her husband. We also hear three times a noise like from an airplane after the cry of a raven. Every time the scene changes, like the acts in a stage play. Although it turns out that the manager who gave her the new job, has been fired meanwhile, she manages to jump from part-time job to part-time job in order to prove her that she is capable to manage her life without the "help" of her husband. However, when the film ends, one sees almost the same scenery as at the beginning, after the car with her and her husband crashed into the river. But there is now just one thing: Both Yella and Ben are dead. Obviously, this film by Christian Petzold is the attempt to reconstruct the fragile time between a lethal accident and the death, so-to-say a mental geography of the never-land between beginning and end of death. This is so fascinatingly done in this movie, that my recommendation is unlimited.
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10/10
A strange "rite de passage"!
herjoch22 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
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 the new film "Yella" by Chr. Petzold,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 their 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 the end is logic and convincing.A formally stern,deliberately cool and strangely mesmerizing lyrical film.By the way: It tells you more about today's German state of mind than a dozen statistical surveys.
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8/10
Mood better than story
paul2001sw-127 February 2010
In Christian Petzold's film 'Yella', a young woman stalked by her husband after leaving him slowly rebuilds her life, and self-respect, through starting a relationship with a criminal businessman. But it's not clear how much of the story is real, and how much is the product of her traumatised mind. In its conclusion, the film resolves this question, and the answer is almost inevitably disappointing; the kick in the tail insufficiently surprising or satisfying. What is good, however, is most of what precedes the ending, as the viewer is drawn into a world intriguingly on the balance of normalcy and the sinister, as seen by a woman herself on the edge. It's nicely underplayed and there's scarcely a wasted scene; it's just a shame that the final resolution has little new to add.
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films that make you think you think...
Burton_Herschel_128 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Like many of the films made in the past fifteen years that seem to take after "Jacob's Ladder" (which, as one reviewer here has pointed out, is merely hearkening back to Bierce's "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge"...), there is ultimately no point to the 'twist' at the ending of this one. With the better films of this genre (like "Jacob's Ladder", "Mulholland Dr.", etc.) the dream/fantasy/afterlife scenes actually reflect something of the psyche of the character whose internal states we're experiencing an externalised version of. In this film, the use of this plot device is almost comical; when you die, your life doesn't flash before your eyes - you imagine yourself doing business! So what?

Another reviewer on here said: "The dynamic and exciting world of business is transformed into a dull sequence of events, which constantly occur[...]", but I would say this is the one area where the film works - the reality of business IS incredibly dull, repetitive, banal, etc., and is only remotely of interest to those involved who may stand to gain or lose money. The director succeeded in portraying the world of business as one of male posturing and superficiality, where everyone's faking and speaking in numbers to mask their basic needs and desires (i.e. making greed seem logical).

The ending, and all the 'clues' scattered throughout (which are really some of the more obvious ones as far as these sorts of films go), ruin the sense of realism the director manages to build in these business scenes. Like "The Machinist", "Trauma", "Open Your Eyes/Vanilla Sky" and "Lucid", the revelation at the end of "Yella" ultimately doesn't count for anything... Instead of creating an actual mystery, the filmmakers of these films present the appearance of a mystery; instead of cleverness of construction, the appearance of cleverness; instead of being (so-called) 'films that makes you think', they're films that flatter the viewer into thinking they're thinking. But all that's really here is a pseudo-cryptic puzzle with 'clues' and 'symbols' that are quite heavy-handed when one catches on to what is being done, designed to make the viewers confused at the 'weirdness' throughout the majority of the plot, only to have it explained to them at the end so they think they 'get it'. This sort of film-making is basically the equivalent of making up one's own personal coded message, showing it to people who will of course have no idea what it 'means', and then giving them the key to decode it after they're confused - it's an exercise in pretend cleverness on the part of the filmmaker, and any viewer who feels proud of themselves for being able to 'spot the clues' after being given the key has been manipulated into feeling like they managed to do something clever - to 'think they're thinking'...

What is it that makes these kinds of films appealing to us? Is it because the experience of life is confusing and illogical, and deep down we would like someone to come along and give us an explanation, but at the same time we don't want to admit to ourselves that we can't understand things as they are? Films that manage to accurately capture the rhythms, complexities and confusions of actual life are far more mysterious than a film like this that's been self-consciously designed to give the appearance of mystery.

This film is a disappointment after having seen the director's first film, "The State I'm In", which got everything right that this one got wrong...
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7/10
Offering depth beyond the life and death matrix
Jugu Abraham16 June 2008
Germany's Christian Petzold belongs to the new breed of European directors that loves to make films layered with meaning for the astute viewer. Russia's Andrei Zvyagintsev mesmerized serious film-goers with his multi-layered films that urge film-goers to approach cinema as one would approach a challenging and intelligent puzzle to derive maximum entertainment. Spain's multi-talented Alejandro Amenabar has proved that a holistic mix of good screenplay, music and direction can result in films that recall the precocious brilliance of the young Orson Welles' Citizen Kane made so many decades ago. These are films that are delectable for the intelligent and patient viewer who does not demand to be spoon-fed by the director. Members of this exclusive club of directors include Austria's Michael Haneke and Finland's Aki Kaurismaki. In Yella, Petzold throws morsels of visual treats at the viewer. The attentive viewer will ask for more, for the less attentive it will be an invitation to snore.

"Yella" is the name of the main character of the film. (Yella is creatively linked to Wim Wender's key character in his film Alice in the Cities, a character without a mother moving from city to city.). Petzold's Yella has a father but the mother is either absent or not discussed, not far removed from Wender's Yella.

Yella wears red most of the time. Now bright red is worn by many women in Europe but the color acquires a different meaning when you realize its political association with East Germany. Petzold's Yella lives in former East Germany, full of birds, trees, rustic atmosphere and warmth. Petzold's Yella yearns to make big bucks in the former West Germany, less populated, richer and more corrupt at corporate and personal levels.

Halfway into the film, there is a suicidal motor accident. What follows teases the mind of an attentive viewer. A desperate woman boards a train with empty compartments. A male person peeks into her compartment but leaves her alone. Much later, she realizes that the train has reached its destination and has been parked in a yard. As she strolls into town, her eyes meet with those of a woman, who is apparently well off financially and secure in an urban house. This was in my view the most powerful and enigmatic sequence in the film. Who is this woman? Is it Yella comparing what she would be like in future? When her future benefactor turns out to be a crook, Yella "helps" him. Yella herself slowly transforms into a crooked woman as a chameleon would in new surroundings, all the while yearning for the old life of her father and financially crippled husband.

The second half of the film with its almost empty hotels provide a clue to the film, just as Amenabar progressively provided several clues in his well-made ghost movie "The Others" that there is something unreal. Can characters enter locked hotel rooms, eat food and disappear? Would characters who once stalked Yella be transformed into characters that Yella would herself pursue in dark alleyways outside her hotel instead of hiding from them? Who is alive and who is dead? What is real and what is imaginary? Why is the sale price of the husband's business, eerily the same figure as the figure quoted to purchase computers? You are coaxed by your own inquisitiveness to go backwards in the film to figure that out. Somewhere floating in the water after the accident you can spot an empty can of Coca-cola, a symbol of western materialism and prosperity.

There are aspects of the film that bothers me. Why did Yella leave her husband? Because he was obsessed with her? Why is the mother figure absent? Is true love absent? Yella is portrayed by actor Nina Hoss and the performance won her a Silver Bear for the Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival. The film's editor, cinematographer, and director—all three have been separately honored with minor awards for their contributions in this film. The surprise for me was that the story was written by first time writer Simone Baer, basically an established casting director. It is remarkable that Baer and Petzold should weave an interesting film around personal guilt, aspirations and quality of life. I was intrigued how a male director could delve inside the female psyche so well until I was amused to spot that the original writer was Simone Baer, a woman.

Yella is portrayed by actor Nina Hoss and the performance won her a Silver Bear for the Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival. The film's editor, cinematographer, and director—all three have been separately honored with minor awards for their contributions in this film. The surprise for me was that the story was written by first time writer Simone Baer, basically an established casting director. It is remarkable that Baer and Petzold should weave an interesting film around personal guilt, aspirations and quality of life. I was intrigued how a male director could delve inside the female psyche so well until I was amused to spot that the original writer was Simone Baer, a woman.

Petzold and the "club" of like-minded European directors invite the audience to think and reflect about themselves after they view these movies. These films offer interesting views on politics, ethics, business and love. They may or may not be obvious. It is for the viewer to spot them. They are not served on a platter. The story on screen remains as a pivotal point for the debate to begin among viewers. These films urge you to consider your own situation in life and reflect how you would react under similar circumstances shown in these films.
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9/10
Reminds me of an old film...
finnn2 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I thoroughly enjoyed this film with its easy pace and moments of emptiness - but it really reminded me a lot of the 1962 version of "Carnival of Souls". You have the car driven off the bridge, the recurring musical theme, the constant drawing to the water, her acceptance of a job after travelling there after the crash, the way her life gradually corrupts despite her being given a second chance and the final moments where she's discovered to have died in the original crash after all. The two films aren't so similar that I was certain it was a remake, in many ways guessing if it was a supernatural story or not made it more interesting to watch.
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5/10
Odd
emkarpf9 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I've seen this on TV today for the first time, and afterwards I thought, how odd. First let me say what I liked. I think the movie was well-acted, and well-casted. I also liked how it created its own universe - the locations fitted very well the surreal, dreamlike quality of the scenes. This is something I demand from movies, and it was done well in this one. I liked how they used the Expo site for it. What I didn't like: The ending was very predictable. At the moment Yella pulled herself out of the water and ran to the station in her wet clothes, I started to beg: Please let this not be another version of Ambrose Bierce's short story about the hanged man. Then I realized that her stalking ex-husband could only be seen by her, and I hoped: Please let this not be another Sixth Sense. Even more so, after she saw Burghart Claussner's character after his death. The red blouse became a hint that was not to be overlooked anymore - especially after she'd claimed she 'needed to buy something else to wear' and still ran around in the red blouse, after all. Well, it was the Bierce version. How innovative. And I wouldn't have minded a joke now and then. Why is it that German movies have such a hard time with being funny in spite of all the characters' problems?
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The Orange Peel Stripped Away
kingacres09 May 2009
If you are looking for a thriller that sweeps you away for 90 minutes go elsewhere. If you are looking for a twister that strives to constantly outwit your keen literary and cinematic intellectual sensibilities with its never-ending brain teasers this isn't it. The film does have flaws but, as a vehicle that facilitates a better understanding of human nature, it is very successful.

Why can't bright people get over the need to duel with the directors and writers of film and, instead, pay attention to what is important? Whatever its shortcomings, this is a look into the psyche of a human being that, at least for me, reveals all the frailties, contradictions and inconsistencies that our species is heir to.

See this film, allow yourself to enter into Yella - then, by all means, dissect and analyze it later.
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7/10
Money changes everything
richard_sleboe17 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
It seems Yella (Nina Hoss) has next to nothing left to lose as she takes an accounting job in a nondescript business park two hours away from her hometown in present day Eastern Germany. But what little hope she still has - make a living, get away from her stalking ex-boyfriend - crumbles as the job opportunity dematerializes before she has even started. She is back to square one of the playing field, and she doesn't know the rules of the game. But Yella is a quick learner. On the spur of a moment, she attaches herself to a slightly shady private equity guy (Devid Striesow, don't miss him in "Eden"). As soon as they take their makeshift investment show to the road, Yella understands that there are fortunes to be won and lost on every deal. There is nothing obviously appealing about this movie: barren sets, uneventful plot, unassuming acting. But as you keep watching and wait for something to happen, Yella's quiet desperation gets to you. In many ways, the movie's gloomy surface is a metaphor of her desolate state of mind. Watch out for Barbara Auer's trophy wife guest appearance, and for a surprise ending reminiscent of William Golding's "Pincher Martin".
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8/10
A triumph for modern day German cinema
thieverycorp7620 June 2009
This enigmatic drama is a story of a young woman who confronts her ambitions and insecurities head on. The film starts with Yella accepting a new job and moving to the more modernized western part of the country. With hopes for a better future, the life she leaves behind include her loving father, her obsessive husband, and the stability of a reality understood.

Christian Petzold uses a bold no frills approach to exhibit this thought provoking film. The narrative has a minimalistic quality which serves the film well, allowing the viewer to focus on the subtle yet compelling performance by actress Nina Hoss. Yella is an intelligently layered film and a triumph for modern day German cinema.
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8/10
Very strong.
raimund-berger10 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The story can be considered as simple as it gets I guess. The main character, Yella, tries to break away from her husband who is in a desperate state also due to a failed business. While he keeps stalking her, in an attempt to get a job and life of her own she teams up with a venture capital negotiator, who unfortunately does some not exactly legal side business on his own. As he's about to be exposed, the story comes to a crisis when she tries to support him with a blackmailing scheme.

So while the core story is pretty straight forward, it's really the execution which sets this film apart. More specifically, this film succeeds in creating a real atmosphere through minimalistic dialog and camera work dominated by long still and slow panning shots, beautiful lighting and colors contrasting toned down reds and blues, and meticulous sound work which puts you right into the middle of things.

The world created here is one of profound dissociation, where at each moment people seem to be able to relate to each other but can't quite, as everybody is just pursuing his own goals not freely but rather desperately driven and brutally exploitative in consequence.

To support that atmosphere, the film also sports a couple of "magical" stunts which look like an attempt to give it a metaphysical touch. And especially the ending seems to put all past events into a context which wouldn't live up to the tension immediately preceding it. In fact, I found it a bit disappointing on first viewing myself, but it made sense on the second one when I realized that the film doesn't seek a closure which it couldn't satisfyingly present anyway.

Altogether, I'd consider this truly great cinema. It likely won't appeal that much to a viewer who's still fine with run of the mill Hollywood cinema and TV shows, which basically reassemble the same material over and over again thanks to professional writing combined with lack of inspiration and present them in always the same ways, over edited, over color processed, over acted, over scored, over everything. Audiences on the other hand who can e.g. appreciate Russian or Japanese classics will find here a truly original addition to class contemporary cinema I'd say.
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6/10
The Consequences of Love
Mike Roman18 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Yella is something of an amalgam of Carnival of Souls, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and Jacob's Ladder. These derivatives notwithstanding, Yella shows flashes of genius in its compositional elements - it is a very quiet film for instance, very serenely composed as the underlying score of Beethoven's piano sonata suggests, and certainly not a waste of time. My summation is that as the eponymous heroine is dying she experiences the reverie of life, and, as in a dream, things become mixed up, hence here, the new guy Philip is in fact the old guy who kills her by driving his Landrover off the bridge. Note the physical resemblance between the two for a start. If you watch the film there are many residual effects like this: the bourgeois family for example represents her dreamlike aspiration of a future taking real form; she imagines a possible world for her as it might have happened in those few fleeting moments as the life goes out of her. There is a definite dreamlike, lackadaisical quality about the whole thing. Another film that springs to mind, which resonates on some level, is Paolo Sorrentino's exercise in style, Le Conseguenze dell'Amore. In some ironic way, this title would not be out of place for Yella.
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2/10
No bang, all whimper
btibbetts6 November 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this as part of a European Film Festival at the AFI Silver Spring, MD theater. The festival supposedly gathers some of the best European films, including over ten foreign film entries and the 2007 Palm d'or 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 days. That combined with Nina Hoss winning best actress at Berlin Film Festival, I thought I would see an interesting film. Much to my dismay, I ended up watching a predictable movie that has been done at least a dozen times before. Within the first five minutes of the film, I was able to predict the editing. Part of me spent the next 85 minutes hoping I was wrong about my prediction, sadly I was not. Beyond the predictability of the film, it's also directionless. Overall I found the film to be a waste of time and would not recommend this film.
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2/10
Beggars belief
zw0425 September 2007
Improbably dialogue, hammy acting, and a "twist" in the storyline which is neither clever nor original. Actually it just doesn't make any sense. What a waste of two hours. The reviews here in the UK were quite favourable, which makes me think that there was an exchange of brown envelopes off-screen as well as on-screen. Oh, and the subtitles were some of the worst I've seen, particularly in all the business-related discussions (Eigenkapital equity translated as "Personal Capital", Abschreibungen as "Deductions" etc.). Seeing as the whole plot revolves around these bits, you'd have thought they'd get someone to proof-read it who is familiar with these sort of terms.
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1/10
Falling asleep... so boring
kravcic5 March 2007
We can forgive wooden dialog, flat characters, and all manner of implausibilities, just so long as the story's a good one. But this film looks like a draft from a bad and very boring TV show: a bunch of scarcely-related, independently developed thematic elements are sliced, diced, and shuffled together into a melange of ideas precariously balanced on the teetering bones of a half-baked story. Pacing and sequencing is clumsy and amateurish. I made it through about one hour and I only got that far because I thought it HAD to get better - it just couldn't be this lousy and boring. It did not get better at all. I kept thinking, "How much longer can this pseudo-artistic film go on?"
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7/10
Mella Yella
writers_reign21 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This is one of a number of recent German films that have played in England - Mostly Martha, Goodbye, Lenin, The Lives Of Others - and Academics and failed Pseuds are starting to talk about a German New Wave which is totally misleading because unlike the French so-called New Wave these German films are actually quite GOOD and adhere to the old style of film-making, strong stories, no hand-held cameras, jump-cuts and other sloppiness. That's not to say that this entry doesn't take the odd liberty - within minutes Yella is walking through the strangely deserted streets of a large town in the middle of the day, just her and her violent ex/estranged husband. Later that same husband turns up on her doorstep where she is saying goodbye to her father prior to leaving for a new job on the other side of the Elbe when the ex turns up again and offers to drive her to the station; now both Yella and her father know that the ex is trouble but - in the equivalent of the scene where the heroine walks the corridors of the old, dark castle in the middle of the night with only a negligee and a candle for company - she meekly gets in the car, against all logic. There's an appropriate - given the denouement - surreal quality about it which shouldn't be exposed to a strong light but the metaphors mostly work and with the exception of the violent ex the acting is good quality. I doubt if it will find its audience outside Germany but nevertheless it'a a notable effort.
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2/10
At one point it seemed it would become interesting, but it didn't
viljar-17 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The movie is well-shot, but in no way does that compensate for a future story. The problem is that there is no good direction in the film. We don't know why Yella separates from her husband, and as such we don't know what she's running away from, nor do we know where she is heading. Usually, not knowing where the film is going is something I enjoy, but here, it all seems pointless, as we don't even know where the character is coming from.

The opening sequence, where Ben follows Yella in his car does set a tone, but I think it does not satisfactorily explain why Yella wants to move away from him. To some extent, it doesn't even seem like Yella wants to lose him: at two points Ben breaks into her hotel room, and Yella seems far too acquiescent. One plot hole, at least to me, was how on earth did he manage to get into her hotel room?!? I doubt he just walked up to the reception and asked for the key. Afterwards, Yella doesn't seem to do anything further about it: she doesn't ask for her room to be changed, or even seek advice from anyone.

Yella's 'dodgy job' isn't explained well either, all we know is that there are negotiations, and envelopes of money are exchanged. To some extent, this is acceptable, because Yella isn't given any good explanation of what's happening, and so, we can also be left in the dark. But, considering how much of the film seems to take place in fancy boardrooms, some slight revelation, in due time, of what is actually going on would've been appreciated.

The two lead characters live in a hotel, and what struck me is that neither of them ever close their doors. This is puzzling, especially considering that Yella is, it would seem, attempting to leave her stalker ex. Even more so when the ex has proved that he is capable of entering her room, even when the door is closed. These hotel doors left ajar did provide for one point where I thought 'now the fun begins', and that is when Yella leaves her room and seeks out her companion. Finally it seemed that she took some initiative and would be in charge of her own life, and not drift around being controlled by others. (To that point, it had always been her companion seeking her out.) Yet, what followed was just a parade of new board rooms, with Yella playing second fiddle.

When Yella proclaims her love to her new-found companion, I lost any sympathy I had for her, because it is obvious that she is the typical weak female, falling for 'the bad guy', and she doesn't even try to change her fate. After leaving the stalker bad guy, she falls for the bad guy who steals money from his employer, and seems to hope that all of a sudden life will become better.
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3/10
Pretentious, annoying and slightly dull.
Jimmy Chin25 February 2010
This was a slow moving, predictable film full of attempts to evoke cheap emotional responses from the audience.

The acting was beyond dull. As is typical for this type of film the script was probably five pages long with most of it consumed with "...then there was a long drawn out silence...". By the time of the main actress' tenth drawn out silence I was getting irate.

Further to the point, this German film appears to have come from someone more worried about the soundtrack than the script. A love of "Moonlight Sonata" and "Road to Cairo" may be admirable, but not when the absence of such masterpieces would leave behind a film without the capability to evoke an emotion otherwise. I found myself slightly disgusted with the obvious attempt at using music as a kind of tear-jerker, something that only suggests an inability to do it through screen performance.

There are other pretentious and annoying little snippets within this film, such as a repeating animal noise, and other "symbolic" imagery and sounds. These only serve to reinforce the aforementioned disgust, but they also play a dual role of destroying any mystery about the ending and making this one of the most predictable and uninteresting films ever made.

The ending was so blatantly predictable that most people would probably guess what will happen from about thirty minutes in. Suffice to say, the ending was in the same chord as the rest of the film, pretentious twaddle that leaves you feeling cheated and used like Pavlov's Dog...
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7/10
Another European film demonstrating the director's imagination and creativity rather than desire for massive profits
jillf6415 April 2012
Although the way this film will end is probably there from the beginning anyone who complains about that is missing the point. The big pluses are the location, the atmosphere and the wonderful leading lady who was totally convincing as a bullied wife. Even viewed from the back she maintained her somewhat cowed attitude. I liked the hint at an unknown dimension of the spirit as she gained her freedom from her horrible husband. I also liked that the world Yella found herself in was strange and alienating but she adapted quickly because she was used to being pushed around. It's another film that demonstrates how much wiser and more satisfying European films are.
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3/10
A frightfully dull contribution to the silver screen
horn-supremacy23 May 2008
Whilst there are some intelligent references towards the relationship between the former East and West regions of Germany, the film as a whole drags on far too long in what seems a never ending, repetitive cycle of tiresome and boring events. The dynamic and exciting world of business is transformed into a dull sequence of events, which constantly occur, highlighting the clear lack of ability in writing an enthralling script. The contrast in acting styles from Nina Hoss (Yella) are minimal, at several occasions looking as though it is too painful to smile. On the other hand David Striesow's (Phillip) performance attracts the attention of the viewer, and is highly commendable, in particular his swift changes in mood. However, when all is said and done Petzold's "Yella" is a film full of irrelevant references pinned under the title of "artistic licence", it would be better suited to a total running time of 30 minutes, rather than forcing the viewer to endure 86 minutes worth of scenes depicting the supposed ideals of the capitalist West. My advice is save your time and money, spend £15 on a documentary on capitalism - it'll probably be more interesting.
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7/10
Christoph Petzold: who are you?
Bob Taylor14 November 2015
This is the fourth Petzold feature film I've seen; they've all been well-made and all have left me unsatisfied in some way. Die innere Sicherheit is his remake of Running On Empty and has some effective performances but lacks the emotion of Lumet's film. Barbara is a wonderful vehicle for his muse Nina Hoss, but the suspense you'd expect to find in a DDR story isn't there. Jerichow is a version of The Postman Always Rings Twice that is underpowered in its acting.

Now Yella has another effective performance by Nina Hoss--think of Julia Roberts with more acting ability--but the script somehow doesn't satisfy. It's more Daphne du Maurier when you really want Graham Greene. David Striesow as the cynical yet somehow sympathetic Philipp impressed me; I'd want to see him in another vehicle.
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7/10
Entertaining. Period
aFrenchparadox22 September 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Very strange small film I have to say. Because it's a thriller able to keep you interested, it's definitely entertaining. But for myself, it doesn't tell me about life, doesn't raise any self-centered question. And those who know me know this is what I mainly expect from books and films. It raised some questions though, but about itself in fact: she's involved in an accident, survived, at least this is what you think, and finally you discover that she died in this accident. OK, but what does this make of the main body of the film? Is it what she imagined while she was drowning herself, or just before the car jumped into water when she knew it was unavoidable? In which case, it should represent her expectations about life (expectations of having been less lawful, more adventurous?). Or is it what would have happened if she had survived, some kind of way of saying if she had been less naive, she would have become more adventurous, less lawful. Or again of saying it's because she was naive she died and could never have become this person we follow in the film? Hmm, really this left me perplexed. But as I said earlier, it's entertaining. It's also nicely filmed and well played, so it's definitely not a waste of time. Just a strange object.
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The Phenomenology of Being Yella
Rolf Peters19 February 2010
This might have been a very intriguing movie but for the lacklustre plot.To write a movie script for a film like this needs the kind of intuition and knowledge one finds in Tarkovsky, Alain Renais or Luis Buñuel.

This is a slight movie in which the director Christian Petzold should have been able to carry off.

There is some intertextuality nudging in the direction of Tarkovsky (verdant tree swaying leitmotivs)but the movie never really gets airborne. It's dogged by repetitive mis en scene and dull dialogue and the script never exploits the possibilities of the plot.This is certainly not a bad movie, it just can't live up to the aspiration of its essential donnee and "surprise" if tacked on denouement.
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6/10
Petzold and Hoss show us their talent
Warning: Spoilers
This is "Yella", a German film from 2007, so it will have its 10th anniversary next year. The writer and director is Christian Petzold and this is just another great addition to his memorable body of work. I believe this was the first time that he and actress Nina Hoss worked together and she plays a lead role, namely the title character. This is the story of a young woman who gets harassed by her ex-boyfriend. The latter is played by Hinnerk Schönemann and I am quite a fan of this actor. Apart from a good performance in general, I also really liked his physical presence in here. The new man in Yella's life is played by Devid Striesow. Other supporting characters are played by very well-known German actors, such as Klaußner, Wittenborn, Brambach or Redl.

This movie here lets Petzold further rise in my appreciation because I felt his camera work was very good. Nice to see him get some recognition from awards bodies and I am also fine with Hoss winning Lead Actress at the German Film Awards. She was a really good choice for the character I think and it's a painful watch from the perspective to see her being harassed on several occasions. Beauty can be a curse and she looks really stunning in here. No doubt she was up to the challenge of playing a character who is basically in every scene of this fairly short 85-minute movie.

Another thing I liked is that Petzold did a good job in inviting the audience to take guesses what will happen or what may have happened. I guessed correctly very late into the film what really happened and it very much makes sense. Petzold is known for choosing realism over bad and forced happy ending and that's exactly how I love it. I guessed earlier on that Hoss' character may kill Striesow's while mistaking him for her ex-boyfriend in one of her delusions. I had two or three more theories throughout the film, but the explanation Petzold chose at the end was really good. I do believe it was a good way to close the film and now even if you know what happened, it can still be tempting to watch the film, not only because Klaußner's give away depiction at the end, but also in order to recognize little details, for example how much time Hoss' and Striesow's characters spent in cars and how maybe her actions during negotiations may not have fit Yella's character at all. Or how her behavior drifts away more and more from reality, so you may guess the longer it goes, the more ruthless she becomes and she is nobody who intentionally hurts others or even commits crimes herself with her past and background. It all makes sense. I was occasionally tempted to give this film an even higher rating and consider it one of the year's finest, but I decided finally a 6/10 is enough because here and there there were a few not so strong moments and the whole business aspect was something that I, from a subjective standpoint, had no interest in. But that's just me. I certainly recommend the watch here. Petzold and Hoss and other cast and crew members really did a strong job here.
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