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Sundance Pick: Breaking Glass Pictures’ ‘Holiday’ To Be Released On Feb 26th {DIRECTOR’S NOTES, REVIEW & SPOILERS}

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Synopsis: Young and beautiful Sascha discovers her dream life of luxury, recklessness and fun comes at a price when she is welcomed into the “family” of her drug lord boyfriend at his holiday villa in the port city of Bodrum on the Turkish Riveria. Physical and psychological violence are a way of life for this gangster family, but when the velvet veneer is stripped raw to the bone, Sascha’s eye drifts towards the “normal” life she is leaving behind–is it possible she could still be accepted by polite society?

When the film opens it seems as if it’s a story about prostitution or just a woman who is so broken that the men she choses are disposable to her.  Sascha is not just sexy but her character is highly alluring.  We get a taste of how men firstly view her, as a sexpot, and then secondly how men treat her, like a rag doll that can be thrown around.  She is totally uninhibited by the physical and sexual abuse against her.  The second half of the story shows her emotionally rebelling which lands her at the Precinct station, dazed and confused.  The film is overly sexualized but it weirdly works.  You want to look away at some scenes but you are so taken back by the rawness you can’t help but not look away.

Cinematography based: Beautifully shot and this lends to ease the blows of rape and debauchery  that ensues amongst Sascha and her friends.  The locations that were shot are very posh which helps lend to the notion that rich drug dealers are cold and spineless.  The environment makes Sascha feel like the victim when in fact she is the main problem.  She willfully creates a scenario where she feels like there is nothing wrong with the way she is treated.

Spoiler: Someone dies at the end.  That is given away by the film’s poster.

Meet The Female Director: director holiday

Originally from Sweden, Isabella Eklöf has a BA in Film Directing from the University of Gothenburg in 2007. In 2011 she graduated from the Danish Film School’s Directing Program in Copenhagen. Isabella has directed 11 short films, several of which have been screened in the international film festival circuit. In 2012 she received Bisballeprisen, a prestigious Danish art prize, for the work on her graduation film “Notes From Underground”. Since her graduation Isabella has been working on writing and developing “Holiday” with support from the Danish Film Institute. Having started out in the independent theatre scene in Stockholm, Sweden, Isabella also works with editing, screenwriting and translations to and from Swedish, English and Danish. She has published translations and a short story in Swedish.

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Isabella’s Notes: Growing class differences are the biggest threat to society today. This is what we see in HOLIDAY, what Sascha sees and wants the trappings of success without being made to work for it.  It’s a unique POV, as a woman in a man’s world adapting to his rules and a social pecking order she didn’t sign up for. Rules we take for granted and really shouldn’t. Learning and understanding the rules without bias or judgment, Sascha is searching for a home, a family. And here she finds it.  I always aim to be ruthless in telling a story. I was fostered with an almost cruel, maybe arrogant earnestness: I despise cowardice in myself and in others so it is extremely important to me to go all the way with any story, to not look away from the rawest, most vulnerable parts.

My co-writer Johanne Algren and I both felt we never had the chance to choose a regular life–that life had turned its back on us. We both had the distinct feeling we were already “branded” as different very early on. And in the same way that a “regular” life has rejected Sascha, she in turn rejects it back a hopeless gesture to be certain.

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HOLIDAY is heading to DVD/VOD on February 26th!

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