Set in a picturesque Italian seaside town at the height of summer, writer-director Edoardo Gabbriellini’s suspenseful and perturbing third feature chronicles a subtle cat-and-mouse game.
Just before her 20th birthday, Veronica (Margherita Corradi) is released from prison after a long and public trial in which she stood accused of brutally murdering her mother and her mother’s lover. She was found not guilty in court, but the court of public opinion is another matter, and now every move she makes is under society’s microscope.
She has become a social pariah, and only Veronica’s father (Alessandro Tedeschi) and her best friend Giada (Giorgia Frank) — who was also there on the fateful summer night when the couple was found stabbed and floating in the pool at a swanky seaside villa — are by her side. Now, with the ordeal in the near-distant rearview, Veronica, who maintains her innocence, is simultaneously beating a drum in search of a fugitive while trying to reclaim her young life, which was abruptly frozen just as she was discovering her sexuality.
Set in a placid village on the Ligurian Riviera where pristine beaches full of fleshy vacationers line the coast and silent, hidden streets and alleyways lend themselves to unimaginable transgressions, this film by writer-director Edoardo Gabbriellini — known for his 2012 feature The Landlords, as well as for his performances in Luca Guadagnino’s 2009 I Am Love and Paolo Virzì’s 1997 Hardboiled Egg, for which he won best actor at the Venice International Film Festival — reveals the high-profile, unsolved case in flashbacks. A hall of mirrors suggesting that what was done may be of less significance than what’s to come, Holiday, Gabbriellini’s third feature, is an unsettling and thrilling dive into the depths of the human soul.
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto International Film Festival
Content advisory: violence