The Chicago International Film Festival’s commences tomorrow night with Liv Ullmann’s drama Miss Julie, leading to an impressive and exciting number of films from talents both new and old alike. Films begin screening to the public Friday October 10th, and will continue to the festival’s closing night film, Jean Marc Vallée’s (Dallas Buyers Club) latest film Wild. The fall film festival circuit is a thrilling time of the year, not only because they often yield exciting early-looks at the films destined for oscar glory (READ: The Imitation Game), but because of the magic of discovery. There’s a singular thrill to walking into a film with a name you never heard before, made by unknown artists, and leaving the theater feeling like you struck gold. Witnessing the cinematic eye take form in unknown artists is gratifying and strangely hope filled, and is central to what makes the festival experience so special. Enjoy the festival!
Note: A full length review will be published when the film is released into theaters.
The only temptation in Liv Ullmann’s upstairs-downstairs romantic drama is between you and your eyelids, which will become increasingly heavy the longer Miss Julie drolls on. Miss Julie herself, performed in earnest by Jessica Chastain, begins to fall for a helper, Colin Farrell. Ullman has a soft directorial touch reminiscent of her teacher, Ingmar Bergman, but none of his poetry or wit. The characters are hallow, their emotions overstated but thin, and the more ‘raw’ Miss Julie tries to be the more awkward it is to watch. Acting the voyeur to great drama can be riveting, but here it has all the energy of walking in on an intimate fight you weren’t meant to see, and all you want to do is get out. If you bring a date to the festival’s opening night, insist on the requirement they bring energy drinks- you’ll need them, it’s a stuttering bore of the highest degree.