A short film about tragic love, confinement and pink hair.
A selection of Short of the Week, the web’s leading curators of quality short films.
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FULL REVIEW: www.shortoftheweek.com/2021/01/05/yulia-and-juliet/
“Whilst one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies echoes in the title, Yulia & Juliet is a clear and inventive vision in its own right, and you won’t find any trace of a Romeo in this modern-day love story. Centred around two teenage girls who fall for each other whilst locked up in a detention centre, Zara Dwinger’s (Liv) 12-minute drama takes its audience on an intimate ride, led by a couple of electrifying performances.
Managing to illuminate a familiar tale and make it accessible, bold and genuinely moving, Yulia & Juliet is not a depiction of young love, first love or same-sex love, but simply love – as all-consuming, sensual and destructive as the real thing should be, wherever and whoever it strikes.
Upon first meeting the titular characters of Dwinger’s short, you’d be forgiven for thinking that these are just two regular girls, bumping into each other in a noisy school corridor. But then we spot the ventilation grills that link their dimly-lit rooms and remember the buzzer at the very start, signalling that the doors are now unlocked. This is a much bleaker setting than Verona’s Casa di Giulietta, it’s a prison for juvenile female offenders.
Despite the setting, love has blossomed for this smitten pair, but with Juliet’s release imminent, her leaving threatens to put an end to her secret relationship with Yulia. The film makes for an intense and emotionally-supercharged watch. The 4×5 aspect ratio, paired with the tight framing of the shots, creating a claustrophobic aesthetic, reflective of both the protagonists’ oppressive surroundings and the intimacy between them.
“I was interested in the idea of two girls forming this very special relationship in a confined space, and what would happen if one of them got out. What would you do? Not only is this inspired by the feeling of being stuck as a teenager, and finding solace in the tight bonds you form as a teenager. This idea of tragic love also reminded us of the most famous love story ever written: Romeo and Juliet, two actually pretty extreme teenagers if you think about it” – Dwinger shared in an interview for S/W.
“I hoped to make a film that, although it is about extreme circumstances not many of us actually go through, it would still remind you of the intense feeling of being young”, the director adds. Before concluding that she “hoped to make a colourful film about real people in a kind of uplifted world”.
Dwinger’s direction pumps vigour into Yulia & Juliet by keeping it youthful, effervescent and relevant. Even placing her characters in a somewhat unusual setting, as she touched upon, hasn’t stopped this talented filmmaker from making their story compelling and relatable. By capturing the fierce yearning of young love and translating the family feud at the heart of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet into themes much more relevant today, such as family upbringing, background and social status, she has modernised and reinvented a classic and much-adapted tale.
Much of the credit for bringing Yulia and Juliet’s story to life is due to Sara Luna Zoric who performs with an instinctive authority and conviction as Yulia, and Dylan Jongejans as Julia, whose acting debut shines with a naivety and innocence that are genuinely disarming. The two actors deliver something as close to star-making performances as it is possible to get, making it difficult not to care about the two young lovers, for never was a story of more woe than this of Yulia and her Juliet.
Yulia & Juliet had its international Premiere at Berlinale in 2019, then made its way through a long list of respectable film festivals including Edinburgh International Film Festival and Palm Springs International ShortFest, before hitting the internet late in 2020.” – S/W Curator Serafima Serafimova
Yulia | Sara Luna Zoric
Juliet | Dylan Jongejans
Cinematographer | Douwe Hennink
Production Designer | Tim Balk
Costume Designer | Nedda Nagel
Make-Up & Hair | Renee Wijnhoven
First AD | Tony van der Veer
Editor | Fatih Tura
Sound on Set | Oliver Pattinama
Supervising Sound Design | Tijn Hazen
Composer | Ella van der Woude
Colorist | Joppo in de Grot
Casting | Bobbie Koek
Title Design | Abel van Erkel
Festival Distributor | Kapitein Kort
Reproduced on this channel with the permission of the filmmakers.