Miss Julie (1972)

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Based upon the play by August Strindberg, Miss Julie is concerned with the torturous relationship between the aristocratic title character and Jean (Donal McCann), a mere servant of her father's house. As the play opens, most of the servants are outside celebrating midsummer's eve with dancing, singing, and laughter. Christine (Heather Canning), a cook, is waiting for Jean to arrive so that they may join the revelers, but the imperious Miss Julie (Helen Mirren) comes between them and uses her power and status to change their plans. Julie delights in humiliating Jean, treating him with disdain and mocking his dreams; she even goes so far as ask that he kiss her shoe. Because she is technically his employer, Jean cannot directly express his anger, but he does begin playing a manipulative game of his own that results in an exchange of secrets. They disappear into a secluded room of the house, and when they re-emerge, Jean has gained the upper hand, and they find themselves in an untenable situation which they must still somehow resolve.