Olmo and the Seagull at Locarno

FESTIVAL. Lea Glob and Petra Costa's documentary hybrid "Olmo and the Seagull" competes at Locarno Film Festival's Cineasti del presente section (5-15 August).

Lea Glob and Petra Costa's documentary hybrid Olmo and the Seagull will screen at Locarno Film Festival, in the Cineasti del presente section for emerging directors presenting their first or second feature. In a mix of observational and scripted scenes, "Olmo and the Seagull" chronicles the emotional rollercoaster Italian actress Olivia Corsini embarks on during her pregnancy.

For the past 10 years, Olivia has been an actress of the famous company "Theatre du Soleil," where she also met her boyfriend, Serge. When Olivia becomes pregnant, she almost has a miscarriage, and the doctor orders her to stay at home, thus having to give up a major part of the theatre's production of Tjekhov's "The Seagull." We follow Olivia's thoughts and imagination as she struggles to go from being woman and an artist into being a mother.

"The aim of 'Olmo & The Seagull' is to use a personal story of pregnancy as a means to explore questions of female identity, the roles we wish to fulfill, as well as the contradictions between internal thoughts and external actions," says co-directors Glob and Costa. "Taken by many to be a 'necessary phase' of female identity, pregnancy is usually simply celebrated, and it is very taboo to talk about loneliness or deeper existensial feelings."

Actress Playing Herself

The film mixes observational footage of the couple, reenactments of their conflicts, Olivia's voice-over based on her diary and inspired by the stream of consciousness and party-planning scenes in Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway" and Olivia acting out scenes of her imagination.

"This is the story of two actors living and reenacting the story of their real lives, of Olivia leaving theatre to become a mother. Given that she is an actress and that her reason for being in the film with us was that she wanted to take this as a chance to face the transition from the theatre to the real. Identity and acting the roles we expect ourselves to be is essential to portray this woman and her life," says Glob and Costa.

The collaboration between Danish Lea Glob and Brazilian Petra Costa began in 2012 in CPH:DOX' talent programme DOX:LAB, which pairs two young directors from different parts of the world and different production cultures.

Read interview with Glob and Costra about their collaboration at CPH:LAB

Lea Glob's graduation film "Meeting My Father Kasper Top Hat" (2011) was nominated for a Robert and received an award for most innovative documentary at the Chinese Sichuan TV festival. She received the Reel Talent Award at CPH:DOX in 2014. Petra Costa's first feature "Elena" (2012), premiered at IDFA and won several prizes at festivals worldwide.

An early version of "Olmo and the Seagull" was shown at CPH:DOX, where it won the NORDIC:DOX AWARD. 

"Olmo & the Seagull" is produced by Charlotte Pedersen for Zentropa.