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on 11 April 2015
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VINE VOICEon 28 May 2009
Nina Hoss plays Yella in Petzold's metaphysical thriller.The film seemed to allegorise aspects of the relationship between the failed East Germany and the successful WestGermany.About her ex partner,Ben(Schonemann),Yella says,"I don't love him any more because he's ruined...that's why I have a bad conscience".By leaving her husband whose business has failed in East Germany and crossing to Hanover for a new job in the West,she is selling her soul for worldly wealth.Her new lover,Philip(Streisow) who employs her in a series of shady business practices in venture capitalism is a fraud.Her ex who she sees after being stalked by him(or in hallucination) says the company destroyed their love,he's willing to become a plumber to hold onto their love. Philip said he doesn't want a conventional life of settling down in the suburbs with a wife and child and car. We see Yella's debasement via this embrace of ruthless big-business practices Petzold is not concerned with plot or character development.The cool, corporate world of capitalism is unreal and Hoss proves the cynosure of the film's weirder atmospherics, with a look of her eyes,a smile,and the anxiety-driven paranoia of what she's given up.This is a ruthless,cutthroat world, with something deeper and darker lurking beneath.We break into the dream-like world Yella inhabits through the sounds of running water,the wind in the trees,the cawing of crows,a broken glass on the floor.Her ex-husband is deranged and tries continually to get her back.The Elbe is the dividing line between the old world and the new life.A car that her ex drives her to the station in is driven by him off the bridge into the river.I liked the film but it's not satisfying nourishment as Petzold seems to drive it to a wrong ending and shows a failure of nerve in what could have been fantastic. Hoss's performance alone is reason to watch.Menacing and full of ill-omen.Is Yella only dreaming her escape from the lake into which her stalker ex-husband has plunged her?
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on 8 April 2009
Yella is about a young woman who leaves her small town to move to Hanover to work and make money. As the movie begins she is stalked by her ex-boyfriend with whom she ran a company that went down. We follow her to Hanover where she meets a man in the finance sector. More than that should not be said about the plot before watching it.

The film creates a very cold and creepy atmosphere as almost no one is smiling. We see interiors of depersonalised spaces like offices, hotels and lounges, slick buildings and new cars. There is a tense feeling because money is at stake and people can obviously not be trusted. At the same time there is something dreamlike about certain scenes. I find Yella very thrilling psychologically speaking, cause the action is very limited. As a viewer I wondered about certain things all to the end, cause this film contains some mysteries. Also, the transfer of this AE DVD is very good. Recommended!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 21 January 2013
In his interview in the Special Features section on the DVD, director Christian Petzhold explains the origin of this film. It is based on a strong tradition of German legend and folklore. In such a story, the main character longs to escape from his or her stale and impoverished existence in a small town. In the same story, the person is always torn between staying and leaving.

Thus what we see unfolding from the start is a tale of yearning and conflicting emotions. The director also takes the opportunity to take swipes at the world of private finance and the traditional style of German film-making.

The film is beautifully made, while still being full of dramatic tension. The direction is very lean and tight, and hence Christian Petzhold is becoming a favourite director of mine. Nina Hoss plays her role with stunning intensity, placing herself at the very centre of the story, as a woman using all her strength and wit to fight against what life throws at her. The film is superbly edited to maintain the mystery right to the end, while emphasising its dreamlike quality.

The Artificial Eye special features include a trailer, plus filmographies and interviews for both Pezthold and Hoss. I highly recommend 'Yella' and also the 2012 Petzhold/Hoss film 'Barbara' Barbara [DVD].
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on 8 April 2014
"Yella" (2007 release from Germany; 89 min.) brings the story of Yella (played by Nina Hoss), whom we get to know as the movie opens with her arrival at the train station. She is stalked by Ben, who must be a bitter ex-boyfriend or significant other. Yella arrives at her father's house and excitedly informs him she found a job in the big city (Hanover). She will take the train to Hanover the next morning. Next morning, instead of the expected cab driver, it is Ben who offers to take her to the train station. Yella reluctantly agrees. To tell you more would ruin your viewing pleasure of this plot-heavy movie, you'll have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: "Yella" completes German director Christian Petzold's so-called "ghost" trilogy (started with "The State I Am In" in 2000, and continued with "Ghosts" in 2005). While these three movies are plot-wise unrelated to each other, there are clearly certain themes coming back, none more so than a critical look at how Germans are adjusting to the "new" (i.e. post-unification) Germany. Second, without giving anything away from the plot of "Yella", just know that this movie deals quite a bit with venture capital. Yes, that seems quite a stretch from the quick introduction that I wrote up earlier, you'll just have to see how the movie gets there, and get ready for a wild ride along the way. Third, Just as Petzold relied on Julia Hummer for "The State I Am In" and "Ghosts", he now puts the movie's weight on Nina Hoss, and she comes through brilliantly. Not surprisingly, Petzold has called on her again in his subsequent movies (2008's "Jerichow" and 2012's brilliant "Barbara"). Fourth, the DVD comes with several nice extras. There is a 50 min. documentary called "Nothing Ventured" about venture capital in Germany, and from which Petzold took some inspiration when writing "Yella". Then there is an 8 page film essay about Petzold and "Yella" from a German film critic which puts all of this in a delightful context. Excellent reading material AFTER you have seen "Yella".

Bottom line: in my humble opinion, Christian Petzold is one of the very best European movie directors of this generation, and his entire "ghost" trilogy makes for compelling and riveting viewing. If you are in the mood for a top-notch foreign movie that will take you on quite a wild ride, even if it involves something as potentially boring as accounting and venture capitalism, you cannot go wrong with this. "Yella" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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VINE VOICEon 17 April 2013
I would like to have given this film five stars. There is obvious talent here, not least in the lead actress. The film-making pedigrees are evident too, and there is sufficient tension generated to keep your interest. However, the ending, which I will not reveal, left me breathless with the lack of originality, and sheer old-fashioned contrivance applied. It is as if they thought 'what next?' and the cleaner said, 'I know, how about...?' And they went with it. Slapped legs, and in the corner with the dunce's cap on please.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 February 2008
Yella is a nightmarish portrayal of the alienating impact on society of business practices in the new world economy, showing it in such a harshly realistic light that it becomes almost surreal. The much criticised suspense element is certainly predictable, and signalled well in advance, but there is much more to this film than its conventional and readable twist. What is important is how the technique is used to put a very eerie and unsettling perspective on modern-day Germany and the world of international business affairs.

There's nothing naturalistic about that approach, but then there is nothing human about the world the director is depicting. Through repetitive motifs, unchanging camera placements and a limited number of situations that eventually start to collapse into themselves, Petzold creates a terrifying sense of unease and a distinct hint of death in this closed-off business world that merely runs mechanically through a series of familiar routines. Not naturalistic maybe, but frighteningly realistic all the same - its nightmare world only one step removed from the real one.
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on 3 March 2013
This is a film that keeps your attention all the time, not because it is action packed - it is not at all -but because there is a kind of eeriness and threat throughout. In some ways the film depicts the hum drum monotony of executive life and business on the road and nothing more, but the twist in the story is really memorable, particularly as it is hard to see a point in the film where the future twist becomes obvious, even once you know it. I find that very skillful and the fact that it stays in the mnd for so long after seeing the film is the sign of good storytelling.

I think the amazon description of the film not as accurate as it could be as to me it implies something much faster moving and suggests the characters are 'winners' where in fact they are tragic losers.
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VINE VOICEon 31 May 2008
"Yella" is definitely one of the better foreign language films that I have seen recently. The acting is particularly impressive, especially Nina Hoss's performance as Yella Fichte , a young German woman, just separated from her husband and moving to Hanover in search of a new career and a new start.Yella is icily attractive and intelligent and she gains employment working as an assistant for a well off financier.However her husband persists in stalking her as her attraction to her new employer grows. It would be inappropriate to label this gripping film a thriller; it is more of a film about relationships and avarice than anything else. The ending when it arrives is quite surprising -I didn't see it coming at all- and in my opinion wasn't the best of conclusions to an absorbing film.
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on 4 March 2015
I did not enjoy this. Without giving anything away I was lost as to the point the film was making when you reach the conclusion of the film.
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