10 Julio 2017 10:11
An explosive portrayal of sex, sin and religious guilt
Before a single image appears onscreen, we hear a modem roaring into life like a Harley Davidson. It's an old modem, of course, from the late nineties, when this short film is set. Karen Maine's Yes, God, Yes is a simple story that is dazzling audiences at every festival it's shown at.
Yes, God, Yes, starring Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things), tells the story of Alice, a 15-year-old Catholic girl who, via the still-primitive internet of the time, begins her sexual awakening. The conflict between her new obsession with masturbation and her (imposed) beliefs soon escalates, and Alice must struggle to bear the weight of her own guilt and shame.
Karen Maine has conjured up a mood that is reminiscent of the much-loved, prematurely-cancelled Freaks and Geeks. She uses her story to reflect on the nature of virtual relationships – whether with an online persona or with a god. To ensure that her story is relatable, she has chosen to set it in a very specific, recognizable period in the past.
Yes, God, Yes opens with a yawning modem and ends with the famous exchange from Titanic. This is the film's climactic moment, detonating Alice's desire and reminding us that between 1997 and 1999, there was no greater sin for a teenage girl than Leonardo DiCaprio captured on VHS.
Burning in hell is worth the risk when you have the house all to yourself and Jack (sigh) on the TV screen.
But perhaps the greatest thing about Yes, God, Yes is how it manages to resurrect the nineties without mythologising them. The elements from that decade – AOL, Titanic – are all integral to the drama and narrative. Yes, God, Yes is more than a work of nostalgia or retro aesthetic: it subverts the conventions of an entire generation; it comes all over an 11-Oscar-winning movie.
This time around, the title of the film and the audience's reactions to it – Yes, God, Yes – are one and the same.