In Icelandic, the syllable “já” (pronounced “yow”) has millions of meanings. Generally, it means “yes”, but depending on the tone, expression and context it changes meaning radically.
Explaining it to non-Icelandic speakers is a bit tricky, but to tell the world about its uniqueness, director Gísli Darri Halldórsson has embroidered a story around it. His work is entitled “Yes-People” and is a touching and fascinating short film nominated for the 2021 Academy Awards.
“Yes-People” follows several Icelanders as they deal with small and ordinary conflicts, three families in the same apartment block going about their daily routines, acknowledging, ignoring or annoying their neighbours and intimates.
Each situation is accompanied by a single word, yet the contexts and glimpses of life that are shown are diametrically different.
To the light-hearted and triumphant tune of “Sveitin Milli Sanda” by Elly Vilhjálms, this short film succeeds in capturing the idiosyncrasies of the common gene and catching the beauty of small things in everyday life.
Watch it here!