Film Diary: Miss Julie, 1951, directed by Alf Sjöberg.
We picked up this DVD from the library just because it was on Criterion. Little did we know that Sjöberg is considered Sweden's 2nd best director and this film certainly supports the case. He expands the original August Strindberg play that was set in a manor house kitchen into a cinematic masterwork. I imagine the play must be extremely intense and claustrophobic considering the story, but the film is able to bring a stark beauty to the class/gender/power struggles. That's not to say there aren't things that are troublesome as far as how Strindberg writes women and Sjöberg portrays them, but that doesn't detract from the feeling that you're watching something unusual and significant.
On a design note, I really liked the hand-drawn opening credits over the mysterious woman peeking out from behind a curtain. It was an auspicious beginning.