You or Me [Yana Zinov, USA, 2019]
While Robert Louis Stevenson’s 'Jekyll and Hyde' is considered a classic by some, most respected critics agree that what it is really missing is a large dollop of BDSM and some eighties style montage scenes. Luckily, You or Me by Yana Zinov is here to the rescue.
This film centres on Parker, or, more accurately, Parkers. A sensible, suited and booted Parker comes home to find an unexpected and unwelcome guest - himself. Rebellious Parker (donning a biker jacket and punky rings, of course) confronts Parker number one, prompting a leather-laden orgy of drugs, self-harm and sharp red heels.
Zinov makes use of some interesting camera angles to convey the strangeness of the situation. Although rather cliché, the self-confrontation scene in the mirror produces multiple images of Parker, which helps express his multiple personality complex. There are some horrific scenes of self-harm, which are effective in their shock factor, but perhaps merit a warning at the beginning of the film.
The short opens with an image of BDSM magazines strewn across a coffee table, yet while the theme of masochism runs throughout the film, it is not clear how this ties in with the character’s situation. While Parker is obviously experiencing some serious issues with his identity, the images of lustful violence are neither profound nor sexy. In fact, the self-destructive montage of Parker flipping out with a pair of tights over his head are unintentionally amusing rather than disturbing. This is perhaps due to the slightly limp acting as well as the plot’s lack of cohesion.
Without a sense of meaning, the sex and violence in this film seem merely gratuitous. Despite the interesting camera work that makes this piece stand out, You or Me inevitably falls flat without a sturdy storyline to hold it up.
'You or Me' was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2019.