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Olivia (15*)

Hidden Figures: Jacqueline Audry

A young girl looks at the reflection of herself in a mirror

Queer passions run deep in a French finishing school in Jacqueline Audry’s remarkable adaptation of Dorothy Bussy’s novel.

Olivia, an English teenager, joins a 19th century French finishing school and falls in love with one of the headmistresses in this daring landmark depiction of lesbian desire, newly restored in its original, uncut version. Her same sex attraction provokes crises in other teachers and schoolgirls when it seems that Olivia’s love may be requited.

The film caused a sensation, and was cut in both the UK and the US. BAFTA nominated Edwige Feuillère and Simone Simon star as the school’s other school mistresses, consumed by petty jealousies.

A key work of queer cinema, Audry's film also offers a sensitive yet unflinching portrait of adolescent sexual awakening and the confusions and traumas of youth. Co-written by her sister Colette, it’s a remarkable achievement.

The screening of Olivia on Wed 14 July will be introduced by Dr Clara Bradbury-Rance.

France 1951 Dir Jacqueline Audry 88 min


Barbican Cinema has been supported by the Culture Recovery Fund for Independent Cinemas in England which is administered by the BFI, as part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund supporting arts and cultural organisations in England affected by the impact of Covid-19. #HereForCulture.

The words 'Here for Culture' in caps, with an outline of a square, corner point roughly north-facing, that ends once it meets the writing
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