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The Royal Road

Director Jenni OLSON
Country USA Year 2015
Format Blu-ray Running Time 65min
Genre Documentary Color color
Rating 전체관람가

Keyword  Culture, Queer, Experimental


Code Theater Date & Time Info Rating / Subtitle
080 Megabox Sinchon 2 2017-06-06 10:00 전체관람가 영어대사



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, butch identity and Alfred Hitchcock'sVertigo — all against a contemplative backdrop of 16mm urban Californialandscapes, and featuring a voiceover cameo by Tony Kushner.

Program Note

This is the second film produced by film historian Jenni OLSON, who is also known for cofounding the pioneering LGBTQ website PlanetOut, which had a large influence on North America in the 1990's. The Royal Road is a poetic film essay that uses stream-of-consciousness to reflect on the act of remembering, nostalgia, and butch identity. With the deserted city streets of California as its background, with no music but the ambient noise of the city, we hear Jenni OLSON's voice-over narration. Following this introduction, a multitude of colors and shapes overlay the contemplative 16mm landscape shots to form the historical strata. A historical account of California, the layers of history touch on the Spanish colonization of California, the Mexican American war, and postcolonial California, while also exploring and examining Hollywood classic films such as Billy WILDER's Sunset Boulevard (1950) and Alfred HITCHCOCK's Vertigo (1958). Within these historical recounts of colonialism and Hollywood cinema, OLSON also includes her own autobiographic musings, talking about her childhood unrequited love, a girl named Juliette. Regardless of whether or not it is a recounting of history, urban anthropology, a film critique, or personal nostalgia, all of these blend together to create an intimate and sentimental sensation. In particular, the film's interpretation of Vertigo is very original. Just as Jean RHYs' Wide Sargasso Sea retells the story of Jane Eyre from the perspective of Bertha (known as Antoinette COSWAY in the original novel), the madwoman Creole wife who is confined in the attic, The Royal Road rewrites the story of Vertigo from Carlotta's point of view, a Spanish woman who is the model for a portrait and tragically ends her life with suicide. It is the reinterpretation of a story written from a minority's point of view, and the rewriting and re-reading of a classic story. The film depicts the topography of desire through the land- and cityscapes. Nominated as one of the best American independent films ever since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015, The Royal Road is a must watch for those who love films, the queer feel and sentiment, cities, and history. [CHO HyeYoung]



Jenni OLSON is one of the world's leading experts on LGBT cinema history and is currently the Vice President of e-commerce at WolfeVideo.com. Her debut feature film, The Joy of Life (2005), world premiered at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, and went on to play a pivotal role in renewing the debate about the need for a suicide barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge. Jenni’s most recent short film, 575 Castro St.(2009) premiered at Sundance and the Berlin Panorama in 2009. Her latest film, The Royal Road, was screened at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.


Director 제니 올슨 Jenni OLSON
Producer Julie DORF
Screenwriter Jenni OLSON
Cinematography Sophie CONSTANTINOU
Sound Jim LIVELY
Editor Dawn LOGSDON
Music Jenni OLSON (Voiceover), Tony KUSHNER (Voiceover Cameo)


The Film Collaborative
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