Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Nina Hoss, Hinnerk Schonemann, Michael Wittenborn and Devid Striesow

Rated: No rating 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: May 16, 2008 Released by: Cinema Guild

This subtly haunting German film crisply puts one into the milieu of the titular character played by Nina Hoss.

In Yella, directed with allegorical agility by Christian Petzold, she is able to finally advance her professional life through an accounting position outside of East Germany. It's a way to try and rid herself of a domineering former spouse (Hinnerk Schonemann). Yet, things turn bad thanks to her new employer (Michael Wittenborn).

Petzold's screenplay has Yella doing illicit business with Philipp (Devid Striesow of The Counterfeiters), honning her conning ability. Yet, her ex seems to always be in striking distance of her.

The helming of Petzold has an intriguing vision into the difficulty to find joy or separate one from what had divided countries like Germany for so long. The conflict in Yella's life comes from the changing environment, the pressure from the men around her, though she has a deadpan mercurial side to her.

The production has that sunny look to it that almost brings indoor and outside shots a sterile facade to it. Schonemann and Striesow have a physical likeness and natural aplomb to let Hoss get through an infidelity of sorts to find the sympathy and smarts she desires.

The lensing and acting affect the mood which has a raw stream of consciousness about it. Hoss conveys a woman maybe on the verge of a breakdown with sharp composure as her life gradually becomes more unnerving. It almost feels like Yella is in waking worrisome condition, looking to grasp for something just out of her control. Dreamy, detached and ultimately open-ended, Yella is a dry, yet sometimes insinuating thriller.

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