Short film | 20 minutes | Drama | 2009
Cast: Verena Leitner | Michael Graf
Director: Robert Passini
Producer: Jakob Slavicek
Cinematographer: Klemens Koscher
Production designer: Pia Juliane Jaros
Sound: Dominik Schlager
Gaffer: Jakob Slavicek
Costume designer: Heidi Holzinger
Makeup artist: Elena Kirchner
© Klemens Koscher
While the count is out on Saint John's Eve, Count's daughter Julie stays to dance at the feast of the servants. Julie and servant Jean are in the count’s kitchen while the party outside can be heard. Despite the fact that he is engaged, Julie finds the educated and travelled servant appealing. Always taking advantage of her status as the count's daughter, she flirts with him and tries to seduce him. At first Jean remains steadfast and does not play along with Julie's play of emotions – but he finds it difficult when facing the pretty young lady. So there is a back and forth of erotic attraction, doubts about the differences in status and mutual revelations of dreams. While Miss Julie mixes play and seriousness, Jean retains his dignity, with the result that he, who was in love with Julie at an early age, is left behind alone.
August Strindberg wrote the play based on the short film of the same name at the end of the 19th century. The tragedy ends with the death of the young Countess Julie due to lost honor and shame. Despite differences in rank, the two flirt, feel an erotic attraction and sleep together. Nevertheless the class differences are too big. The differences in their respective rank and social imprint surpass the human needs and cannot be overcome. Jean makes Julie kill herself as the only way out of the dilemma. Despite August Strindberg's misogynistic attitude, Miss Julie is his most frequently performed play.
However, the part of the drama staged in this short film does not deal with the tragic ending and lurid scenes such as the killing of a bird or the call to suicide, but with the forbidden game of erotic attraction between the two at a time when everything still seems like a game. Miss Julie and the proud servant Jean (“I was a waiter in one of the biggest hotels in Lucerne”) stand on an equal footing as humans in this episode. At the end of the short film, when Jean confesses that he was in love with Julie at an early age, the initially moody and seductive Julie becomes strong and self-determined and leaves the kitchen. Unlike in the play, Jean is left behind at work and thus loses his high status.
The filmmaker's approach to Miss Julie lies in long camera shots that move with or contrary to the actors. In contrast to the theatre, which shows the whole room, film has the possibility to focus the gaze, not always showing every figure and thus emphasizing reactions of figures. The camera is in gentle and accompanying movement, as if it were, on behalf of the spectator, the third person, who not only attends the events around the two characters, but is integrated into the action itself.