Miss Julie (The Criterion Collection)
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Swedish filmmaker Alf Sjoberg's visually innovative, Cannes Grand Prix-winning adaptation of August Strindberg's renowned 1888 play brings to scalding life the excoriating words of the stage's preeminent surveyor of all things rotten in the state of male-female relations. Miss Julie vividly depicts the battle of the sexes and classes that ensues when a wealthy businessman's daughter (Anita Bjork, in a fiercely emotional performance) falls for her father's bitter servant. Celebrated for its unique cinematic style (and censored upon its first release in the United States for its adult content), Sjoberg's film was an important turning point in Scandinavian cinema.
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Films like "Fröken Julie" bring us back to the years when the movies were still created "in earnest" and watched not "for fun" or "for kicks" or to get thrilled or because of the "special effects" - but to feel empathy and to understand other human beings. Film is based on August Strindberg's play, which was written, like many of his works, to express his frustration and spite he felt towards women. While this attitude won't find too many open supporters today, it's difficult to deny Strindberg's work its seriousness and expressive power.
The film "Fröken Julie" is definitely a match to the play in every sense. It's very realistic, showing life in Sweden with love and knowledge of detail, but also - with uncompromising frankness. Strindberg play's burning misogyny is fully transferred to the screen. Countess Berta, miss Julie's mother (Lissi Alandh) is shown as a live monstrosity, destroying the life of her husband and making her daughter insecure, manipulative and cruel towards everybody and anybody.
Alf Sjöberg, the director, did not produce a commentary to the play, his approach was - to be true to the Strindberg's letter and spirit. The film was produced in 1951, and its influence on Bergman's "Wild Strawberries" (1957) is beyond doubt.
If you watch this film with the glasses of the actual society, you will find it something dated, but if you observe from another perspective, you will find interesting clues that may lead you to link the essence of the Existentialism (Think in Albert Camus The foreigner) and three outstanding films released after: Joseph Losey ` s The Servant, Bergman 's The silence and Bertolucci `s Last Tango based on Alberto Moravia.
It's a crime to arouse a passion only to satisfy a caprice.
When there's the fire
For Miss Julie's pride
For a father
Or a lover?
I believe she needs a brain
For celebrating a new world
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