Ravishing the eye and the ear, funny, political and ebulliently literate, Sally Potter’s best film since Orlando exalts in the romantic adventure of crossing class and culture. Joan Allen and Sam Neill are perfect as a London society couple whose stale marriage is disrupted by her tempestuous affair with a Lebanese immigrant worker.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2005
Ravishing the eye and the ear, funny, political and ebulliently literate, Sally Potter’s Yes is easily her best film since Orlando. The always-fascinating Joan Allen is as fine as she’s ever been as a molecular scientist living in ritualised disenchantment with her British politician husband (Sam Neill, also perfect). Simon Abkarian plays the Lebanese waiter whose courtly flirtation with Allen at a banquet blossoms into an affair. Yes exalts in the erotic adventure of crossing class and culture, and critiques it at the same time, with expert assistance from Shirley Henderson who, as Allen’s cleaner, provides sly and priceless commentary.
“None of Potter's previous formidable accomplishments quite prepare you for the extraordinarily intricate splendours of Yes, easily her masterpiece to date. The central action, set in contemporary London, involves a successful scientist locked in a passionless marriage, and conducting an intensely sexual affair… But this sturdy dramatic situation is only the beginning. Potter…departs freely from plot, creating a series of brilliantly choreographed poetic meditations on such topics as life at the cellular level, the metaphysics of dirt and the invisibility of those responsible for cleaning it up, the ever-deepening violence between the Muslim world and the West, and the eternal dance of antagonism and desire between the male and female. And don't think the term poetic is being used lightly. All of the dialogue and interior monologue is written and performed in superb Audenesque rhyming verse. Potter's astonishing mixture of heady intellectual speculation and gut-wrenching erotic passion gives us the first authentic movie-heroine for 21st-century cinema.” — Larry Gross, Telluride Film Festival