News from the Locarno Festival

Olmo & the Seagull – Celebration and sacrifice

Olmo & the Seagull – Celebration and sacrifice



Humans tend to lie to themselves. When making decisions, they labor under the illusion of freedom, unconsciously keeping discouragement at bay. If someone can fall in love because they had nothing to do, as in Luigi Tenco’s song, why not consider the idea that key orientations in our lives stem from… mistakes. A wrong choice that becomes the right one just because it was made, and imposes its tyranny of reshuffled priorities and reframed ambitions.

Olivia (Olivia Corsini) is a theatre actress who loves her demanding and rewarding profession. Her boyfriend Serge (Serge Nicolaï, a pillar of Ariane Mnouchkine’s Théâtre du Soleil) is also her partner on stage, and with their troupe she is rehearsing a major part in Chekhov’s The Seagull. That is, until she is unexpectedly faced with one of the most fundamental dilemmas in a woman’s life. To either keep on enjoying her career fully or to start a family.

The duo of female directors not only tackles an ever-absorbing subject, but does so in giving birth to an alluring and eloquent hybrid between documentary, reverie and playful staging. Petra Costa and Lea Glob, respectively Brazilian and Danish born, but decidedly multicultural, navigate the flow of emotions as freely as they do the variations of their actors’ languages. Their camera stays close to Olivia’s dreamy face, occasionally diving into her thoughts as she follows them down the themed tracks of hope and fear, certainty and doubt. Because if life is a stage, when faced with its tricks and traps our knowledge of the great playwrights appears to have left us none the wiser.

Aurélie Godet
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