Yes (2004)

Cast: Joan Allen, Simon Abkarian and Sam Neill

Director: Sally Potter

Synopsis: Yes is the story of a passionate love affair between an American woman (Joan Allen) and a Middle-Eastern man (Simon Abkarian) in which they confront some of the greatest conflicts of our generation – religious, political and sexual.

Review:

It’s a yes!

As a first foray into Sally Potter’s world, it was a bolt from the blue to discover a movie with a true will to break the mould. Yes follows the life of two strangers – simply referred to as She and He – across the streets of London, and their first meeting already gives us a hint on how turbulent their relationship will be.

Sure, we can first see this movie as a romance, but there’s more than meets the eye: what strikes us straight away is the fact that the movie is built on verse-writing. And, strangely enough, it works! It gives such a unique rhythm to the movie that we, at some point, forget about this off-the-wall storytelling without losing the poetic aspects – luckily! Sally Potter specifically asked the cast to break the rhythm of the iambic pentameter used by Shakespeare to make the dialogues more spontaneous. What makes this movie interesting is its way to show how destructive and heartbreaking love can be.

One of the other aspects of Yes is that Sally Potter tackles themes like having different cultures, different political ideas, and achieves to make the most of it in a very relevant way through the eyes of the two main characters. We see their ideas collide and clash and we cannot but witness a certain truth between the lines – just like white privilege – already in everybody’s mind in 2004.

By delivering very intense performances, Joan Allen and Simon Abkarian show the very ephemeral nature of our lives, as well as how linked to duality we all are. We love and we hate, we hate and we love, through a cinematography as simple as efficient. Take a deep breath, fasten your seatbelt and let yourself be carried away by the world of Sally Potter!

Mélodie THOMAS

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