Although frustrating, it makes perfect sense that so many cinematic responses to 9/11 are imperfect creations. Omnibus project 11/9/01 and existentialist screwball comedy I Heart Huckabees captured the confusion, fear, shock and sadness left in the wake of the tragedy better than any “final word” could have. That’s what makes Sally Potter’s latest experiment, Yes, so fascinating. As any sort of statement on contemporary and universal Big Issues it attempts to tackle — racial intolerance, neglected Muslim viewpoints within Western culture, globalization, the malaise of heterosexual bourgeois marriage, war, science v. religion, death—Yes is simply spread way too thin. And yet, due to the balanced-on-the-precipice quality of Potter’s dialogue, written completely and gorgeously in iambic pentameter, something resembling our desperate need for poetic analysis in face of the unthinkable comes through. Sure, the story—a nameless Irish-American scientist has an affair with a nameless Muslim chief is unfortunately pedestrian, but Yes becomes an artistic affirmation in its better moments of philosophical daring and direct address. You won’t go away from Yes satisfied, but maybe you weren’t meant to.
Opens June 24 at Landmark Sunshine