Director Jenni Olson and producer Julie Dorf in attendance
“I want people to like me; to fall in love with me, simply because it makes me feel better. I’m always searching for the thing that will make me feel better, and so often, that thing is a girl.”
Archivist, historian, filmmaker, film lover and eminent butch, Jenni Olson has brought her passions together in this utterly original and experimental essay film. Fresh from its world premiere at Sundance, The Royal Road weaves the disparate threads of California’s Spanish colonial history, the Mexican-American War, unrequited loves and plots from revered Hollywood movies into a cinematic masterwork on nostalgia, identity and impermanence.
Like the disembodied monologues from her favorite Hollywood melodramas, Olson’s wry, self-deprecating narration effortlessly travels through personal stories of unobtainable romance, pre-Gold Rush-era California and Hitchcock’s Vertigo, among other themes. Accompanied by sumptuous cinematography of static, unpopulated urban landscapes, the journey up and down El Camino Real (The Royal Road) penetrates deeply with a poetic vision, and is a film unlike any you have seen.
As much as the film reminisces on the Golden Age of Hollywood and the golden state of California, Olson presents a profound case for a golden state of mind in which we accept that history continues with or without us and memory serves to illuminate the present, exposing a journey of self-discovery and the beauty of the everyday.
The Royal Road: Dir Jenni Olson 2014 USA 65 min
Community Partners: Cinema Project; PSU’s Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department