Isabella Eklof’s daring directorial debut “Holiday” surprised audiences at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered in the World Cinematic Dramatic Competition section, and the Danish drama is gearing up for its theatrical debut with an appropriately unsettling trailer. The film stars a breakout Victoria Carmen Sonne as Sascha, a beautiful young woman who is already entangled with violent drug lord Michael (Lai Yde) long before the opening credits even run, as the drama centers on their (especially ill-fated) holiday to sunny Turkey. It’s there that things veer wildly off course, including scenes of shocking violence and a rape scene that stunned viewers.
Per the film’s official 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?”
Drawing comparisons to the work of Austrian filmmaker Ulrich Seidl, Ekloff’s film sounds salacious on the page, but Sonne’s subtle performance and the filmmaker’s ease with tough material set it apart from its brethren. It’s shocking, but it’s the kind of film that earns those shocks.
As IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote of the film out of Sundance — where it picked up a Critics Pick distinction — Eklof’s feature “is already unsettling in its portrait of a young woman trapped by a cruel overlord, and then it arrives at a brutal, graphic rape scene more alarming than anything comparable in world cinema since ‘Irreversible,’ and yet “no matter the extreme disgust at the center of this scene and the devastating circumstances surrounding it, Danish writer-director Isabella Eklof’s debut never feels like an empty provocation. This astonishing first feature depicts a world of superficial pleasures with such precision that even the people trapped in its confines can’t deny its appeal.”
Breaking Glass Pictures will release “Holiday” for a theatrical run in February, followed by a planned DVD and VOD release. Check out IndieWire’s exclusive first full trailer for “Holiday” below.