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Review: I (2007)

Director: Rafa Cortés | 100 minutes | drama, thriller | Actors: Alex Brendemühl, Marga Grimalt, Rafel Ramis, Heinz Hoenig, Maria Lanau, Manel Barceló, Joan Pizà, Aina de Cos, Mateu Sa Tanca, Margalida Grimalt,

This sometimes almost claustrophobic is all about identity. Hans, the main character, is a somewhat skittish type. For whatever reason, he wants to get a shitty job as a handyman in Mallorca at all costs. That his immediate boss, Thorsten, aka “Tanca”, is a bully doesn’t bother him. Why he absolutely wants to be here, with a bad employer and in an inhospitable village, is actually unclear. He will have reasons for wanting to flee Germany, but above all, Hans appears to be a rather gentle figure, looking for security.

At first he does not get that uncertainty on Majorca. As soon as he is told that his predecessor was also called Hans, the ground beneath his feet only starts to get more shaky. Hans, however, bites himself, and slowly but surely learns more about the other Hans, and thus about the other people in the village. Why does Miquelet, an old man, think all the time that Hans is the other Hans? What do the bar girls, Catalina and Nina, have to do with the former Hans? How many risks do you have to dare to run for just the right bottle of whiskey for your boss? And is there still going on with Hans’ mysterious well? These are unusual questions and problems that are increasingly taking hold of Hans, and that make “Yo” an ominous thriller, while you do not even know whether a or something similar has actually been committed.

The underlying question seems to be: who was the other Hans? It only really gets confusing when Hans is increasingly (out of necessity) confusing that question with the question of who he himself is. Poor Hans seems to be undergoing this identity question, a fate that he seems to share with his predecessor. Perhaps that is why it is not surprising that he is increasingly identifying with his namesake. The invisible person who lay on his shoulders like a yoke becomes from burden to companion. That is his salvation, but at the same time it means that he seems to have to say goodbye to his own identity. The Hans we see at the end of the no longer resembles the uncertain Hans of the beginning. Who is he now: himself or his predecessor?

Despite the sometimes sketchy characters, who do not all come out equally well, ‘Yo’ is a well-acted and especially exciting film, in which the main character Hans (acted by co-screenwriter Brendemühl) is an interesting character. look like a thriller, filmed in a way that makes you sit restlessly in your chair. That is great, because the plot is not “whodunnit”, and there are no “good guys” and “bad guys”, as so often in suspenseful thrillers. On the contrary, “Yo” is set in a realistic setting, not sunny tourist Majorca, but the dark, rainy and sometimes narrow Majorca of the inhabitants themselves. And the “thrill” is only “Hans”: who was the other Hans, and who is the current Hans? An almost philosophical thriller, in which identity, alarmingly enough, seems to be mainly an illusion.

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