date festival
Poster of the Festival


Christian Petzold

© Schramm Film

Christian Petzold
2007 - Germany - 1h29

Screenings : thursday 25 - 2:30 pm - Pathé - 2 saturday 27 - 2:30 pm - Pathé - 2
Leaving behind her a failed marriage, debts, and a neurotic husband, Yella leaves her small town in eastern Germany to go to the west, beyond the Elbe, in the hope of finding a job and a better life. In Hannover she meets Philipp, a young finance manager. She becomes his assistant, in a world where games are confused with the feeling of power. But this fulfilment is hindered by the strange and destabilising appearance of scratching sounds and voices from the past which come to haunt her.
Yella is an audacious film which aims to combine a reflection on human relationships and a fantasy story. “The film's title is the first name of a young woman who leaves her home in the east of Germany to work as a financial analyst in Hannover. Hounded by her ex-boyfriend, who says she has ruined him, Yella meets Philipp, who works for a stockbrokers. Philipp, a ruthless businessman, invites her to accompany him for various meetings in companies looking for investments.” These meetings are inspired by research carried out by Harun Farocki, notably for his documentary essay Nicht ohne Risiko (Nothing Ventured). In this, Farocki films a discussion between two businessmen, and Petzold follows on from this discussion. In an unembellished style, Petzold orchestrates the incursion of fantasy into a world totally dedicated to the apparent rationality of money. The offices with their big bay windows, the low-key atmosphere of hotels with their standard comfort, the carefully planned gestures of executives negotiating contracts bring the characters face to face with the feeling of the total unreality of their existences. The film can be seen as a critique of economic liberalism, which reduces the field of experience to fierce competition alone. But such a reading reduces the ambiguity of the characters, in particular Yella herself (performed by the formidable Nina Hoss), whose motivations remain opaque to us from beginning to end. The movement of elucidation is constantly beaten back by a current which obscures what we were barely beginning to understand.” (Didier Péron, Libération)

Cast : Nina Hoss, Devid Striesow, Hinnerk Schönemann, Burghart Klaußner, Barbara Auer
Screenplay : Christian Petzold
Cinematography : Hans Fromm
Sound : Andreas Mücke-Niesytka
Editing : Bettina Böhler
Music : Stefan Will

Production : Schramm Film Koerner & Weber

French distributor : Jour2fête