U.K. | 100 MINUTES | English |
Two powerfully idiosyncratic female artists-director Sally Potter and actress Joan Allen-join together in this summation of the greatest conflicts of our generation-religious, political and sexual-as played out within a passionate love affair between an American woman and a Lebanese man. "She" (Allen) is a brilliant scientist laboring through a dull marriage and an even duller dinner party. Catching the eye of "He" (Simon Abkarian), however, changes everything; a former surgeon reduced to working as a cook, He turns on the charm for She, and She for He. As their affair moves from dinner party to bedroom, and from London to New York, Beirut to Havana, each of them comes to understand what they have in common, and-more importantly-what they never will. Potter draws on several decades (and even centuries) of poetry, literature, and cinema for her narrative: the essay-films of Derek Jarman and Peter Greenaway, the plays of Tony Kushner, the novels of James Joyce ("Yes" is the last word of Ulysses). Most of the monologues are written in poetic rhyming couplets, à la Auden. Framing a whirl of poetic, philosophical, and political ideas through the lightning rod of sexuality, Yes affirms the eyes, with gorgeous sets and jet-setting locales; the ears, with a soundtrack boasting Tom Waits, Kronos Quartet, and Philip Glass, and the heart, with the performances of Allen and Abkarian giving the film its passion. As She, Allen lights the screen: radiant, sensual, and cerebral, a heroine culled from the greatest works of art, yet completely of the modern world.