You or Me
It is an unfortunate but equally irrevocable reality that we live in a world where mental illness is regarded as less serious than physical and physiological issues. While someone with heart disease, for instance, is usually given full attention, someone exhibiting psychological deviations might simply be told to ‘get over it and get real’. However, it’s not that easy. Yana Zinov’s directorial debut, 'You or Me', explores topics belonging to the latter category. With a distinct 'American Psycho' vibe due to its setting and opulent interior décor, this
6-minute short delves into the mind of Parker, a deeply troubled individual who has real difficulty in discerning what’s real from what’s not.
The plot flows in a non-linear fashion, hinting at a certain degree circularity just before the credits roll. The story revolves around Parker, who sits in a lavishly decorated apartment, immaculately dressed in an expensive suit, and nurtures conflicting thoughts. The apartment’s symbolism is twofold. First, it reinforces the old saying ‘money doesn’t bring happiness’. Second, it acts as a metaphorical construct for Parker’s mind: it is a prison of sorts, from which he cannot seem to escape, and which acts as a backdrop for both his fantasies and delusions. One could even describe it as a sort of mental limbo, stripped of realism and instead characterized by non-spatiality and atemporality.
The effectiveness of such a mental construct wouldn’t be possible without a polished technical side, and it is here that 'You or Me' really shines. Despite some semi-dodgy initial editing techniques which try too hard to establish the split personality disorder that Parker seems to suffer from, the film subsequently picks off and does ever so well. Yana Zinov showcases her talent and eye for details with an astute directing style which not only fits like a glove but is even more impressive considering that it’s her debut short. The soundtrack is sublime (in some ways, at times, it sounded like a tamer version of The Beast, from 'Sicario', (by the late Jóhann Jóhannsson) and successfully exacerbates the dramatic, disorienting gloom of the film’s setting.
'You or Me' condenses a lot of material in its short runtime, while successfully maintaining a balance between quantity and quality. Very few elements feel crammed in – perhaps the most questionable element is the acting, which, despite being largely believable, seems a bit forced and overacted at times. Sure, some viewers might not thoroughly enjoyed the jumbled nature of the plot (a second viewing is strongly recommended, especially since it’s only going to take another 6 minutes of your time), and others might have more questions than answers about Parker’s character by the time the credits roll, but we liked it as it was. It’s less of a story in the traditional sense of the word and more of an experience. And we certainly enjoyed the ride.