Olivia

Fri. Aug 16, 2019 3:00pm - 4:30pm EDT
All Ages
25 days away
$9.00 - $10.00
All Ages
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Event Stats
25 days away
$9.00 - $10.00
All Ages
Event Description
1951 • dir Jacqueline Audry w/Edwige Feuillere, Simone Simon, Marie-Claire Olivia • 96 min • DCP

OLIVIA is a remarkable work by one of France’s first ground-breaking female filmmakers, starring two legendary actresses in deliciously decedent roles, which easily merits rediscovery today after being neglected for almost 70 years.


Plunging the viewer – and the young title character – into a true lion’s den, director Jacqueline Audry depicts a 19th-century boarding school for girls. The school is divided into two camps where all shots, even the most underhanded, seem allowed. That’s because the two mistresses of the house, Miss Julie (Feuillere) and Miss Cara (Simon), are engaged in a competition for the affections of their students, arousing passion, hatred and unexpected reversals of loyalties. Audry passes no judgment on her characters but instead explores the students’ discovery of love and attraction and the awakening of their senses. And, though she does not address lesbian desire directly, the implication is not far from the surface. Only the two temptresses, Julie and Cara, are presented as manipulative, and power seems to animate them as much as any suppressed carnality.


Shutting away its young actresses in a somber, gothic space, reminiscent of Manderley in Hitchcock’s Rebecca, OLIVIA instills a mood of strangeness that borders on the fantastic. The director creates a world almost without men, and those that do 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 unique and fundamentally feminist film that is a delight on the screen.

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Matinee $10.00
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Venue Details
Map of Venue Location.
Brattle Theatre 40 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
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