Ready for a beautiful, haunting history lesson? Critically acclaimed documentary filmmaker Jenni Olson's new feature The Royal Road offers up a primer on the Spanish colonization of California and the Mexican American War alongside intimate reflections on nostalgia, the pursuit of unavailable women, butch identity and Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (it also features a voiceover cameo by Tony Kushner). As the synopsis explains:
"Deceptively simple landscapes serve as the framework for the film's lyrically written voiceover, which combines rigorous historical research with a stream-of consciousness personal monologue and relates these seemingly disparate stories from an intimate, colloquial perspective to tell a one-of-a-kind California tale."
The film also serves as a personal journey,"cinematic spiritual channeling," for Olson, who uses the device of the documentary to explore:
"the conquest and colonization of Mexico and the American Southwest, fading historical Californian urban landscapes, and the passions found in butch identity to achieve an achingly beautiful and poetic defense of remembering. Probing roads from El Camino Real, to the Boulevard of Broken Dreams, to the road right outside [Olson's] front door."
The Royal Road opens theatrically in Oct. 30 - Nov. 5 at Anthology Film Archives in NYC. Watch the trailer below: