A cinematic essay in defense of remembering, The Royal Road offers up a primer on the Mexican American War and the Spanish colonization of California alongside intimate reflections on nostalgia, butch identity, and Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo—all set against a contemplative backdrop of 16mm urban California landscapes. Deceptively simple longshots of San Francisco serve as the framework for the film’s voiceover that combines historical research with a stream-of-consciousness personal monologue and relates these seemingly disparate stories from an intimate and colloquial perspective. A film about desire, memory, history, and the stories we tell ourselves.
Perceptually and spiritually, my work challenges viewers to slow down and pay attention to the moment and to the world around them, drawing attention to the beauty of what might—at first glance—appear mundane, but is in fact a rich tapestry of architecture, light and shadow, and ephemeral history. For me, the joy of my films is found in the poetry of the static image—in the experience of time passing on film, undistracted by plot, actors, dialogue and other narrative conventions. An internal drama is evoked in the sensitivities of each viewer who is open to the subtleties of these shots that are almost bereft of movement and sound.
Director’s Statement: Jenni Olson
The Royal Road will be presented by director Jenni Olson, AIFF2017 Pride Award recipient, and preceded by her short documentary 575 Castro St.
Pride Award funded by the Equity Foundation