Based on the novel by Dorothy Bussy (originally published pseudonymously), Olivia is set in a French girls' boarding school late in the 19th century, and deals with suppressed love, idolatry and inner conflict, a million miles away from infantile crushes on 'Miss'. Perhaps a little long, it narrowly misses being maudlin and hammy thanks to the performance by Edwige Feuillère as the charismatic head teacher, Mademoiselle Julie, on whom Olivia more than dotes. Although the main theme is self-control and self-will, references and innuendoes point to lesbian love, and it's not hard to imagine that in the '50s the censors' eyebrows would have shot up (eleven minutes were in fact cut on its first release in this country). Today it seems perfect viewing for a quiet Sunday afternoon.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Colette Audry, Pierre Laroche|
Yvonne de Bray
Marina de Berg