A 21 minutes sensorial journey, following the desperate steps of a young kidnapped woman.

In a land where usually nothing happens, a gate opens letting a car in. Three men aggressively pull out a girl from the car, her hands are tied. From the wilderness of a land into the wilderness of the human soul, we start an emotional journey, through the eyes of a kidnapped young girl, Yulya.

The Portuguese director, André Marques, in his short film, Yulya (2015) unveils a poignant story which have almost no words. Interested in exploring social issues, like ruptured family relations and the difficulties to reconnect – pictured in his short films João e o cão (2008) or Luminita, (2013), this time, Marques is approaching the sensitive subject of kidnaping. Yulya, the kidnapped girl, whose name we guess only by the title, could be every beautiful girl we meet on the street. She is following the same way of all unfortunate kidnaped girls, until a sparkle of luck or courage give her strengths to escape. Here is where her unique, poignant story begins.

André Marques, the director of short film YULYA

André Marques masterly uses camera movements to help us empathize with the main character. With Yulya we run into endless fields; we shiver in the forest’s darkness and cold; we don’t know any longer whom to trust. We fear. The transitional scenes give us time to breath and reflect on their meaning: herds of animals running freely in the fields and a girl running in the same direction with the tied hands. How arduous is freedom for a tired fragile girl, who is scared of the entire human race?

Ingenuous lovely presence, Joana de Verona, in the role of Yulya, expresses herself brilliantly through gestures. As we follow Yulya into this sensorial journey, we start to understand that the drama of kidnapped women is not always the incapacity of forgetting that awful event but mostly the perpetual insecurity and the difficulty to connect again with people. For Yulya the hardest thing seems to be to approach the strangers she meets in her journey. As the nature of the wild land she entered, all the strangers in the movie fight fiercely for their small territories and the little fragile certainty they have.

YULYA - still 5

However, even when we don`t expect anything, the emotional journey of the sweet, brave Yulya, will surprise us with kindness and hope. Wordlessly. But just unforgettable as like a haunting humming of a sorrowful song can be.

 author: Teia Brînză