27 February 2007 | romdal
Sense and sensibility
A magnificent piece of cinema and a great Strindberg production. It is the second movie by Sjöberg I see after Hetz, and it seems to me that he bestows an unparalleled sensibility to scenes and to individual characters. This comes as a blessing to Miss Julie, since the Strindberg characters are a more or less neurotic and unsympathetic lot, who needs all the empathy the viewer can muster. It is the story of a dangerous liaison between the noble Miss Julie and her manservant Jean. The story takes place after the damage is done, as during the night-long midsummer festivities the two contemplate running away. Now, the times that one of the two change their mind about running away or not cannot be counted on two hands, an it is a good example of why I normally cannot stand stageplays by people like Strindberg, and certain love/hate Bergman movies like Scenes from a Marriage and Saraband. But the immaculate rendering of feelings and passion that stream towards you again is the saving grace and lifts this movie to a much higher level than any of Bergman's gut wrenching offerings. Plus, there are some brilliant narrative goodies like the extremely elegant flashbacks, which intertwine seamless with the present, or the rhythm of calm scenes with emotional ones and the punctual reoccurance of the noisy meandering midsummer night party (acts sort of a Greek choir to the two mains). Also, fantastic camera work, composition etc. Max von Sydow has an unsympathetic bit part, many years before he played for Bergman in Seventh Seal. Already looking forward to seeing it again.