Behind the portrait of a woman, Joachim Trier auscultates his time in a lively comedy carried by an impressive actress
We knew it. With Julie (in 12 chapters) it’s official: Joachim Trier is a major filmmaker. And definitely one of the best of his generation. By generation, we think of this group of sensitive filmmakers who decided to auscultate our anxious generation, and to dig into the folds of this existential crisis. This informal group deploys its soft melancholy on impeccable soundtracks (most often of the new-wave) and hides its erudition under a very modern setting. We think a lot about Baumbach, Mia Hansen Love or Mikhael Hers – and we could go as far as Damien Chazelle. The way Trier films Oslo is sometimes reminiscent of Chazelle’s LA and the scene from the encounter yesterday echoed the sequence from the planetarium in La La Land…
After Oslo, August 31, presented in Cannes 10 years ago in Un Certain Regard, Julie his most accomplished work proves in any case that in this register, Trier is one of the best. From a collage of intimate shards, he signs a large contemporary fresco, the sensitive radiography of collective tremors. Julie, the heroine, is a young woman who is looking for (herself). A guy, a vocation, a job, answers. From a sunrise over Oslo to another, from a party to a date at the hospital, from a loving embrace to a last kiss, the film sticks in 12 moments to the Converse of this carefree thirty-something. She goes through this period of life when the future struggles to draw its possibilities. And, this is where this portrait of a dazed woman becomes the chronicle of the time. The titles of these say the ambition: Julie talks about romantic relationships in the #Metoo era, the responsibility of art towards society, loyalty to oneself or ecological commitment.
It could be boring, even soothing and repetitive. On the contrary, it is wonderful, funny, subtle and touching. Like Rousseau who invented a new way of expressing the feeling of love in his Julie, or the New Heloise, Sort with an absolute sense of the setting in scene tells in a new way the romantic relationship. For example, there is a fantastical scene with astonishing poetry where the filmmaker stops time to follow the meeting of his two solitudes. There are sequences with pale realism or pop energy and we go from a bright and trivial romcom to Swedish (or Norwegian) depressive drama with equal ease. It would be nothing if there wasn’t someone to embody this project. Renate Reinsve, unknown until now, is a phenomenal Julie, who brings the right amount of roughness, spontaneity and power. She gives the film its absolute weapon: the extraordinary authenticity and accuracy of its heroine and her quest.