We are our own past, whether or not we are responsible for what happened to us. But what happens to us when we cannot really be responsible for our own present? ‘YOU or ME‘ is a short story about schizophrenia, about Freudian fathers, about realities perceived as pure mental constructs, about the identity crisis of the contemporary individual. And yet, this intense short film is more than that. Although she is on her debut film, director Yana Zinov offers an intense, visceral and stunning experience that, even if it starts with a minimal narrative resource that doesn’t fully exploit the protagonist’s traumatic potential, has totally conquered us. Built on the principle of a series of successive emotional detonations, this project uses a generous palette of ideas that will impress a wide range of viewers through the director’s synthesis capability and the suggestiveness of her cinematic narrative. Thus, starting from the doppelgänger theme (formula used, for example, in screened novels such as Saramago’s The Double), culminating in the theme of the split personality (as used, for example, in Fight Club), to which the director adds few psychoanalytic details or philosophical fragments that question the consistency of empiricism (which has already been fully exploited in films like Matrix), this short film succeeds in defining a recognizable and yet unpredictable typology whose extreme gestures kept us breathless.


When in a young man’s apartment penetrates a stranger (an evil duplicate?, an alter-ego coming from a parallel universe?, a mental projection fuelled by repressed frustrations?), the protagonist needs to reconsider his contact with reality. But what is, in fact, his reality: the apparent comfort of a luxurious life, or the fragments of a hidden and painful existence that paralyzes his brain from time to time? Or maybe none of this? Or maybe all this together?


Without following a conventional narrative, this short film succeeds, however, in shaping a bleak and tense atmosphere using a single character whose identity is decomposed by the director in disparate temperamental units through which Yana Zinov aims to depict both the devastating experience of a schizophrenic existence, and the complexity and fragility of the human soul confronted with the inability to delimitate its own individuality. Yana Zinov’s visionary power taking its resources form the aesthetics of psychological thrillers certifies a promising talent whose intuitions in creating an overwhelming universe have not failed. Though ‘YOU or ME’ doesn’t push further the character’s inner and outer conflicts to attack a more consistent epic matter, this project has enough energy to become an impactful feature film that could compete with the best performances of its genre.