Review: ‘Julie’s Spirit’

Dull pacing and direction, plus miscasting of Sylvie Testud in one of the lead roles, takes most of the spirit out of "Julie's Spirit," a wannabe romantic-caper comedy whose destiny looks to be largely on the small screen.

Dull pacing and direction, plus miscasting of Sylvie Testud in one of the lead roles, takes most of the spirit out of “Julie’s Spirit,” a wannabe romantic-caper comedy whose destiny looks to be largely on the small screen.

French thesp Testud, who’s made several German movies, has a low-wattage presence as Julie Melina, a penniless fashion student who comes into possession of a 14th-century Russian icon when its thief, Natascha (Julia Richter), is accidentally run over by a crooked art dealer, Tyma (Fritz Karl), who was about to buy it. Julie becomes plagued by Natascha’s ghost, who tries to dissuade her from selling it to Tyma in order to finance her first fashion show. Meanwhile, Tyma sets out to seduce Julie. Richter, especially, has the right comedic smarts for such light fare, but the serious-looking Testud, despite good grasp of German, has zero chemistry with the whole cast. Visual flair and comic timing are also in short supply, and tech credits just adequate.

Julie's Spirit

Germany

Production

A Luna Film production, in association with Zodiac Pictures Intl., EuroArts Entertainment, Focus Films, Dodici Dicembre/RAI Cinema, Bettina Wilhelm Filmproduktion. (International sales: EuroArts, Berlin.) Produced by Gudrun Ruzickova-Steiner. Co-producers, Lukas Hobi, Bernd Hellthaler, Marina Mueller, David Pupkewitz, Malcolm Kohll, Giorgio Magliulo. Directed by Bettina Wilhelm. Screenplay, Jane Corbett, Wilhelm.

Crew

Camera (Fujicolor), Carl Finkbeiner; editor, Julia Oehring; music, FM Einheit; art director, Birgit Kniep; costume designer, Marlies von Soden. Reviewed at Montreal Film Festival (Focus on German Cinema), Aug. 30, 2001. Original Running time: 96 MIN.

With

Sylvie Testud, Julia Richter, Fritz Karl, Arno Frisch, Svetlana Schoenfeld, Henryk Baranowski, Alexander Hoerbe, Bernice Stegers.
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