Sasha (Victoria Carmen Sonne) is the trophy girlfriend of a violent and possessive druglord (Lai Yde). He and his crew and hangers-on go on holiday to Turkey. Whilst there she encounters a pleasant stranger named Thomas (Thijs Römer).
Holiday wants to shock you. At its centre is a horrific rape sequence that occurs in an unmoving, unedited shot. The film interrogates the nature of power and the impact of abuse. Perhaps most provocatively is the notion that the lack of sympathy and victim blaming that Sasha is subjected to by the victim of a bruised male ego may invoke a more violent response than the rape itself. The audience is being invited to judge Sasha and her actions from their safe vantage point.
There’s no justice to be found in Holiday. Very early one gets the sense that these aggressive and self-obsessed characters will go unchallenged by the well-meaning but ultimately weak characters they occasionally encounter. The luxurious lifestyle of the mobsters is explored in lurid depth in the first half of the film, always with subtle menace.
Victoria Carmen Sonne is an elusive and beguiling presence. She seems to be a person of many faces and it’s hard to know who she really is. This is all intentional, inviting the audience to interpret her as victim and perpetrator.
Holiday is not a pleasant or inspiring watch, it is however provocative. It’s a film of powerful emotion, many of which you may not enjoy but perhaps need to experience.
Holiday is showing at the London Film Festival. Full details here: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/