Boardroom drama? Supernatural thriller? Damning critique of German capitalism? Yella is all of these things and more, a slippery and haunting tale from writer/director Christian Petzold. Yella (Nina Hoss) is an East German migrant who flees her unhinged ex-husband to pursue an accountancy job in Hanover. What she discovers is a ruthless world of sharks in suits led by venture capitalist Phillipp (Devid Striesow). Hounded by her past and suffering strange episodes of déjà vu, she's adrift in a world that's quite literally soulless.
Beginning with a violent car smash in which Yella is almost killed by her crazed ex-husband Ben (Hinnerk Schönemann), Petzold follows his heroine as she tries to make a new life for herself. Phillipp becomes her saviour, a venture capitalist who puts the squeeze on bankrupt firms using a choice selection of domineering body language (his favourite is the "broker pose", which he admits he stole from a John Grisham movie). Yella adapts to the hard-nosed work well but it's not enough to keep Ben from stalking her or her mental health from faltering. Her new life, it seems, can't be divorced from her old.
"A CREEPY, BORDERLINE HORROR MOVIE"
Framed in detached, glacial shots of arid business hotels and brightly-lit conference rooms, Yella plays best as an off-kilter critique of the lengths people go to make a quick Euro. Yet it's also something more. Petzold builds on his heroine's feeling of being out of joint with her surroundings to deliver a creepy, borderline-horror movie. Too obscure and oblique in its aims to completely enthral, Yella manages to get under the skin thanks to Hoss' bewitching performance as the troubled number cruncher and a final reveal that complicates everything that's gone before. Take a friend - you'll need someone to argue with about what it all means...
Yella is out in the UK on 21st September 2007.