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Film / Olga

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Olga is a 2004 Brazilian drama directed by Jayme Monjardin, inspired on the book of same name about real-life German-born Jewish communist Olga Guttman Benário Prestes, who assisted revolutionary leader Luiz Carlos Prestes in his attempted coup against the Brazilian dictator Getúlio Vargas. Initially presenting herself as his wife, the two genuinely fall in love with each other during their mission. Unfortunately, the coup goes south and they are arrested with Olga being deported to Nazi Germany and sent to a concentration camp where she would die many years later as another victim of The Holocaust.


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Olga provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adult Fear: As if being sentenced to a Nazi concentration camp wasn't bad enough, Olga is sent there while pregnant. Olga ends up giving birth to her daughter in a concentration camp and ends up being forced to give her away just so she wouldn't have to die in that place.
  • Action Girl: Olga is shown to be trained in combat and shows off her badassery by saving fellow Communist Otto Braun from his trial. As such, she is assigned as bodyguard to Prestes and assist him in his revolution.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Olga is sentenced to the gas chamber, but at least her daughter Anita was released into the care of her grandmother Leocádia, who lived in Switzerland and protected her.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Subjected to Rodolfo Gholdi, an Argentinian co-cospirator to Prestes, who gets captured by Vargas' secret police.
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  • Chummy Commies: Both Olga and Luiz are explicitly communists backed by the Soviet Union and depicted as straightforward heroes.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Luiz crosses this when Olga is deported to Germany while she is carrying his child. Olga herself crosses this when she is forced to give up Anita.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Adolf Hitler, of course. While Vargas serves as the direct antagonist, he greatly reveres Hitler, who never appears in the story and acts mostly through his officials.
  • Evil Is Petty: Vargas sentences Olga and her daughter to certain death when he deports them to Germany all so he could spite Prestes for trying to oust him.
  • Face Death with Dignity: The last shot of the movie shows Olga inside the gas chamber, having accepted her fate and
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Getúlio Vargas is depicted as a Nazi sympathizer that gladly deports Olga to Germany explicitly to spite his political rival, while she is pregnant no less with a German officer commenting how she would make a "fine gift to Hitler". While its true that Vargas persecuted communists during his regime and was very much a dictator, he also persecuted far-right movements such as the Integralists (a fascist party in Brazil emulating the Nazis), sided with the Allies during World War II and implemented several worker-friendly policies that made him known as "Father of the Poor".
  • Karma Houdini: Getúlio Vargas remains in power after the failed coup, while Prestes is sent to jail and Olga dies in a gas chamber. Even worse, the failed uprising allows him to consolidate his power and because of his assistance to the Allies, his crimes are pretty much glossed over.
  • Missing Mom: Anita grows up in Switzerland, while her mother is still in the concentration camp and even though she never met her, still misses her greatly.
  • La Résistance: The "Aliança Nacional Libertadora" (National Liberation Alliance), the anti-fascist party led by Prestes against Vargas.
  • Oh, Crap!: Olga (and by extension, the audience) react this way when she see that the ship she is about to board while pregnant has a Nazi flag.
  • President Evil: Getúlio Vargas is the President of Brazil and depicted as the main villain of the movie.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Olga to Prestes. She is the main protagonist, but serves as second-in-command to Prestes.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: They serve as even greater bad guys to Vargas' lackeys.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Olga's hair is shaved while in the concentration camp.
  • Undercover as Lovers: Initially, Olga serves as Prestes' bodyguard and second-in-command masquerading herself as his wife. Until they fall in love for real.
  • Young Future Famous People: Otto Braun, a notorious Communist activist that would later serve as adviser to the People's Republic of China, appears at the start of the movie being broken out of prison by Olga.
  • Wardens Are Evil: A nameless female Nazi warden that watches over Olga is very cruel and unfeeling (no surprise, given Olga is both Jewish and a communist).

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