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Directed by Jacqueline Audry • 1951 • France
Starring Edwige Feuillère, Simone Simon, Marie-Claire Olivia
Neglected for nearly seventy years, a singular landmark of lesbian cinema by one of France’s trailblazing women directors reemerges. Plunging the viewer—and the main character—into a lion’s den, Jacqueline Audry depicts a nineteenth-century boarding school for young girls, a house divided between its rival mistresses, Miss Julie (Edwige Feuillère) and Miss Cara (Simone Simon). As the two women compete for the affections of their students, they rouse passion, hatred, and unexpected reversals of fortune. Awash in spellbinding gothic atmosphere and a hothouse air of unspoken desire, OLIVIA is a daring feminist statement decades ahead of its time.