[font=Century Gothic]She is originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her family moved when she was 10 to the United States.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]He is originally from Beirut, Lebanon. In his native land, he was a surgeon. Now, he is a cook.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Yes" is the very definition of offbeat because most of its dialogue is said in iambic pentameter. This device does not take anything away from the movie, since the dialogue almost sounds natural and heightens the central romance. "Yes" celebrates the cinema of ideas. In this case, where do we belong? And how do we all connect in this fractured world? [/font]
YES is a little like Modigliani - about waking up from our sleepwalking, saying YES to life and living it to the full. There's a couple of scenes describing / discussing the opposite of YES; the players decide there is no such thing as NO... nothing can be completely erased, something always remains.
If I were a filmmaker I would make films like Sally Potter's.
It seems that in everyday life for every one word expressed, there are a hundred left unspoken. For every one lucid thought there are a hundred fleeting moments of inspiration and reflection. I too would want to create films that tried to visually express all these unrepresented thoughts and feelings that fully define our shared "human condition" and our personalised experience as we deal with life's challenges. Perhaps our internal worlds are far more vast and fascinating than our external one?
"I wanted to find some cinematic equivalent to the stream of consciousness, I wanted to dismantle the stereotypes of all kinds." - Sally Potter
I liked the film technique in between the intense one on one scenes used to draw back and observe; the change in camera speed and the camera angle that looked down on the players like a security camera, and the cleaners that silently observe the unfolding drama at the edge of a scene.
Sally's films continue to surprise and move me and I look forward to her next project.
This movie is a study of the human condition, 2004, written in prose. Let's see, the only other time that's put in a movie, is just about every musical. Right, a musical is prose put to music. The lines are crafted with care for both the meaning and the patter created by the arrangement.
Acting is robust and convincing, (even Neill) with Joan Allen and Simon Abkarian connecting with each other on several levels. Camera-work is an entire film school study in perfection.
Shirley Henderson plays the three hags to perfection. She has an eye for art when she picks a part that suits her.
What makes this movie so hard to watch is that there is so little time to appreciate the beauty of the words as they fly by. Perhaps that is why we read Shakespeare more than we watch him performed.
I've also dug out my collection of The Phil Silvers Show to finish watching and it's fun to watch how that show evolved. In the early episodes it's just Sgt. Bilko as the archetypal con man fleecing everyone with impunity but later episodes get weirder and weirder starting I guess with the famous one where a monkey gets enlisted into the Army and has to be court-martialed to get him out. From there it's out to shows about Doberman being hypnotized to think he's in love with Colonel Hall's wife and Bilko trying to get some phenom pitcher a tryout with the Yankees. The supporting cast is fascinating to watch historically. This set includes appearances from Joe E. Ross, Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis alll of whom, of course, were important parts of Nat Hiken's next show, Car 54, Where Are You? There are also very early TV appearances by Dick Van Dyke and Alan Alda.
The funniest thing is the makeup of the platoon. To the the credit of the producers Bilko's platoon always seemed to include one black soldier but for "Doberman's Sister", where the plot called for the soldiers to all take each other's sisters on dates, a secomd black soldier mysteriously showed up because no way back then could the black soldier have dated one of his white buddies' sisters. Then again they simply could have had no black actors on that episode, so it was cool they did it that way.
This novel approach is certainly original and even daring, but then, from Potter I'd expect no less; her [i]Orlando[/i] is only an hour and a half, yet in it's journey through centuries and people and places it has a distinctly epic feeling. [i]Yes[/i] does not span time; it spans issues. As the film progresses, Potter's intent of a rumination on today's broken society and cultures becomes increasingly evident; and, ultimately, means that the film becomes too big for it's own boots.
But, nevertheless, there is much to admire here. The increasingly overlooked Joan Allen (her performance in [i]The Upside of Anger[/i] was the subject of outcry when it wasn't nominated for Best Actress by the Oscars) stars as a woman known only as "She"; in a defunct relationship with her husband Anthony (Sam Neill), She falls into an affair with "He" (Simon Abkarian), a waiter and chef she meets at a gala. The divide between Allen's Irish-American woman and Abkarian's Middle-Eastern man already point to Potter's intent: the hot-potato topic of American-Muslim relations and terrorism. So direct is Potter's intent that she, apparently, began writing the script on September the 12th 2001.
[i]Yes[/i] does not take a conventional approach to cinema in any way, shape, or form. The editing is erratic; sometimes, Potter uses jarring, slow motion; then speeded up footage; then scenes which jump at seconds' interval. Anthony never seems to find out about his wife's affair in the way you'd expect; their fractured marriage is such that they never talk, and shout when they do. "She" is initially reluctant to fall into "He"'s arms; but it is later He who draws away. The pivotal scene, as you might call it, takes place in a darkly lit car park; it is here that the politic undertones of the pair's sexual relationship are unveiled. Too often Potter's dialogue is unreal; can her points be taken as valid if we don't believe that her characters mean them? However, Potter's naming of her two central characters probably points out the idea that these are not people, but ideas; these could be anyone, any two people who fall into an affair which the world says is verboten.
When [i]Yes[/i] decides to move away from it's setting of England it loses it lustre, save for a beautiful scene where Allen's grandmother (Sheila Hancock) is dying and talks to her grandchild through her thoughts; it's scenes in Cuba are rather uncomprehensible and alienating. What is most successful in the film are the short scenes we share with Anthony and "She"'s cleaner, played by the vibrant Shirley Henderson; here, Potter's ideas concerning both the literal and figurative idea of cleanliness (how nothing can ever truly be clean; and why, anyway, would you want it to be?; you should live your life, not clean it away) are poetically and fascinatingly brought to life through straight-to-camera monologues, and, at the end of the day, [i]Yes[/i] will leave you with the idea [i]"That "no" does not exist. There's only "yes"."[/i] And that, my friends, is a very positive idea indeed.[/size][/font]
Pentameter, yes -- and it works!
(I hope the DVD includes the script, which is beautiful poetry, searing with real dialogue that is filled by the actors living their roles...)
Thoughtful, thought-provoking, but not necessarily taking sides or telling us how to think.
Sally Potter, thank you.