fbpx Olivia | Gene Siskel Film Center
Film Series: Runs & Limited Engagements


The Pit of Loneliness

1951, Jacqueline Audry, France, 96 min.
With Edwige Feuillière, Simone Simon

Show Times

  • Fri, Aug 16th 4:00pm
  • Sat, Aug 17th 3:15pm
  • Mon, Aug 19th 6:00pm
  • Wed, Aug 21st 6:00pm
New restoration!

"A landmark of lesbian representation."—Judith Mayne, Framed: Lesbians, Feminists, and Media Culture

"So many baby queers were awoken by this film. All the teachers are gay, right?"—Emily, Letterboxd

OLIVIA ranks with the better-known MÄDCHEN IN UNIFORM as an early screen classic of lesbian passion, all the more piquant for being discreetly but transparently encoded. The saga begins with fresh-faced teenager Olivia (Marie-Claire Olivia) arriving at a posh countryside finishing school. The place is an all-female hothouse of schoolgirl (and schoolmarm) crushes, many of them centered on the serenely beautiful headmistress Mlle. Julie (Feuillère). Olivia falls hard for Mlle. Julie, literally throwing herself at the latter's feet, and one senses that the older woman would dearly like to reciprocate. Complicating matters is Mlle. Julie's ambiguous relationship with the high-strung hypochondriac Mlle. Cara (Simon of CAT PEOPLE), her chief rival for the girls' affections. Audry, a pioneer woman director whose films include the literary adaptations GIGI and NO EXIT, handles the then-daring material with breezy delicacy and a refreshing lack of shame-shaded heaviness. In French with English subtitles. New 2K DCP digital restoration. (MR)

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