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Oct 20
Exhibition
Jacques Sémelin The Breman museum
Oct 20
Film
French Film Director Anne Alix in Houston, TX The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston 1001 Bissonnet St Houston, TX 77005
Oct 14
TOUR
Jacques Sémelin 1440 Spring St NW Atlanta, GA 30309

Olivia

Olivia is a remarkable work by one of France’s first ground-breaking female filmmakers, which easily merits rediscovery today after being neglected for almost 70 years. Plunging the viewerand the main characterinto a true lion’s den, Jacqueline Audry (1908-1977) depicts a 19th century boarding school for young girls, one divided into two camps where all the shots, even the most underhanded, seem allowed. That’s because the two mistresses of the house, Miss Julie (Edwige Feuillere) and Miss Cara (Simone Simon), are engaged in a true turf war, and a war of the heart; competing for the affections of their students, they rouse passion, hatred and unexpected reversals of loyalties. 

Olivia does not address female homosexuality directly, and the director passes no judgment on her characters but instead explores the students’ discovery of love and attraction and the awakening of their senses. Only the two temptresses, Julie and Cara, are presented as manipulative, and power seems to animate them as much as suppressed carnal desire.

The director creates a world almost without men, and those that appear show no interest in what is actually happening at the school. For France at that time, when homosexuality was still largely considered deviant, Audrey has made a fundamentally feminist film. 


Olivia
Directed by Jacqueline Audry
Year: 1950 
Runtime: 88 mins 
Released by Icarus Films and Distrib Films US

Opens on August 16 at Quad Cinema in New York, on August 30 at the Laemmle Royal in Los Angeles, followed by a national roll-out. 

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