Yella has decided to leave her small town in eastern Germany for a new life on the other side of the Elbe. But strange voices and sounds are plaguing Yella—truths from her past coming back to haunt her.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what's now showing
An odd but thought-provoking mix of metaphysical exploration and a story that deals with complicated ideas of fealty and financial chicanery. It is most successful when its latent dark, absurd humour is made present.
9/10. Deeply impressive stuff. Informed my dreams and only grew on me further the next day. This isn't even a genre film. Or perhaps: this is a realistic genre film resisting simple classification. It's so subtle and restrained in its supernatural elements. Carried by a brilliant performance from Striesow, alongside Hoss. There is so much attention to details here.
*Spoiler* The "all just a dream" trope and its variants often don't work because they tend to feel like a cheat. But on occasion a director can nail the cinematic depiction of the late comedian Bill Hicks' infamous quote: "There is no such thing as death. Life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves." I thought about this film for days afterward and concluded, "Yes!"
Most of all I enjoyed watching the recurrence of Yella's bright red blouse. To me it felt like a bright signal amongst muted colors, understated situations, and the threat of violence. This movie reminded me how much I like thrillers.
The film provides an excellent potrayal of a woman's descent into madness, but unfortunately with one unforgivable flaw (in my opnion). This is not a good entry point to Petzold's work. Ghosts and The State I Am In (newly available on R1 DVD) are better choices if you haven't seen Petzold's films before.