A vacation on the Turkish Riviera doesn’t need to mean just sun, sea and sand. In Holiday, the debut film from Sweden’s Isabella Eklöf, it also includes overt violence and humiliation. “My co-screenwriter lived that kind of life and I wanted to understand the choices of that kind of woman, how it happens that you allow somebody else to make decisions for you,” said the director of the spark for the film, on which she spent five years.
Eklöf sees her disturbing portrait of the passive girlfriend of a Danish crime boss, which is in competition in the New Europe competition, as more of a sociological than psychological study. “It portrays different types of dysfunction and techniques of dealing with that. In the last 30 years films have been really weighed down by psychology, claiming that somebody is the way they are just because their mother abandoned them when they were four,” she said.
Turkey was chosen as the setting because Danish drug dealers really do holiday there. However, it was the country’s colours that were the main attraction. “I wanted to evoke a sense in the film that you’re locked up in a sweetshop and slowly dying of hunger,” said Eklöf of her film about a woman who pays a high price for being mesmerized by wealth.