Films by Jenni Olson

Films by Jenni Olson

6 Episodes

The personal and the political meet in the ruminative essay films of queer cinema memoirist Jenni Olson. Interweaving reflections on landscapes (particularly those of her longtime home city of San Francisco), lesbian identity, sexuality, and cinema, Olson’s searching, slyly self-deprecating film diaries take the viewer down a dizzying array of intellectual rabbit holes; they’re as likely to spin off into a history of the Golden Gate Bridge as a suicide hotspot (as in THE JOY OF LIFE) as they are into an account of a one-night stand with a straight woman (as in BLUE DIARY). Drawing on her deep knowledge of film history, Olson suffuses her works with allusions to classic Hollywood cinema (notably Alfred Hitchcock’s VERTIGO in her latest feature, THE ROYAL ROAD), bringing dream-factory fantasy into intimate dialogue with the contemporary queer experience.

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Films by Jenni Olson
  • Jenni Olson Interview

    Episode 1

    This interview with director and archivist Jenni Olson was recorded in 2020.

  • The Joy of Life

    Episode 2

    Directed by Jenni Olson • 2005 • United States

    Multitalented performance artist Harry Dodge brings to life this innovative tale of a butch dyke in San Francisco searching for love. Against a backdrop of stunning landscape cinematography, Jenni Olson’s bold, lyrical essay film evolves from queer ...

  • The Royal Road

    Episode 3

    Directed by Jenni Olson • 2015 • United States

    A cinematic essay in defense of remembering, THE ROYAL ROAD offers up a primer on the Spanish colonization of California and the Mexican American War alongside intimate reflections on nostalgia, the pursuit of unavailable women, butch identity, and ...

  • Blue Diary

    Episode 4

    Directed by Jenni Olson • 1998 • United States

    Through voiceover and static San Francisco landscapes, Jenni Olson’s experimental queer classic tells the melancholy story of a dyke pining over a one-night stand with a straight girl.

  • 575 Castro St.

    Episode 5

    Directed by Jenni Olson • 2009 • United States

    Jenni Olson resurrects the spirit of gay political icon Harvey Milk in this poignant short, which sets an original audiotape he recorded—to be played in the event of his assassination—to a meditation on the play of light and shadow on the walls of h...

  • In nomine Patris

    Episode 6

    Directed by Jenni Olson • 2019 • United States

    Jenni Olson’s contribution to the iPhone-shot omnibus film 30/30 VISION: 3 DECADES OF STRAND RELEASING muses wryly on faith, guilt, and James T. Farrell’s “Studs Lonigan” novels from a San Francisco church parking lot.