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TORONTO 2023 Centrepiece

Edoardo Gabbriellini • Director of Holiday

“A coming-of-age tale set within a thriller framework couldn’t help but become a criticism of my own generation”


- Now on his third feature film, the Italian director spoke to us about the ideas which gave rise to his movie

Edoardo Gabbriellini  • Director of Holiday

The protagonist of Holiday [+see also:
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interview: Edoardo Gabbriellini
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, which was presented in a premiere within the Toronto Film Festival’s Centrepiece section, is a young woman who is reunited with her best friend after being cleared of a murder charge. Director Edoardo Gabbriellini explained how his social thriller was born out of an image he saw online.

Cineuropa: Did the idea for the film come from a news story?
Edoardo Gabbriellini: It was an idea born out of a very specific interest. One day, I saw a photo online of a girl playing volleyball in a prison yard and I was fascinated by the idea of her being a criminal. I saw the determined light of an adolescent in her eyes, someone with the world at her feet, but, somehow, something had gone wrong. Regardless of whether she was guilty or innocent, to me she seemed “innocent”. The questions I then started asking myself gave the film its structure.

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Your interest in the more intimate side of the affair is especially clear from the legal thriller backdrop.
My co-screenwriter Carlo Salsa loves televised trials. We liked the idea of using a thriller backdrop to tell a coming-of-age tale within a specific family context. It couldn’t help but become a criticism of my generation, who created a world which isn’t particularly easy to decode. They’re a generation who are struggling to grow up and are bound by certain codes dictating our appearance and aesthetics. This is what triggers the short circuit with the successive generation. That’s the source of all the film’s dynamics.

Not least because kids today essentially communicate through images and icons.
It’s not a problem for them, they were born with it. Unlike those who came to social media later in life. The use of social media can be an issue for my generation, people between 45 and 50 years old. Young people, however, are using it to find their own, new language. I like to think they have the tools needed to navigate the complications social media can bring and make progress.

The protagonist’s mother seems to body shame her daughter, but young people are also capable of this.
The little girls who laugh at the protagonist on the beach have learned that behaviour from older people around them. And, at that age, cheekiness can come across as nastiness, but it doesn’t make them bad kids.

How did you choose the two young actresses who play Veronica and Giada?
The film needed a protagonist who could convey the obliviousness typical of their age. Street castings seemed to be the best option for us. We looked around Genoa and the surrounding area, and we first found our protagonist Margherita Corradi. Then, while looking on her social media accounts and seeing her large group of friends, we started to play around, a bit like with a puzzle, holding auditions between her different friends. That’s how we found Giorgia Frank, who would play Veronica’s best friend Giada. She also won us over because theirs was a real friendship. I stole a few of their dynamics, like how they hug, for example. At 17-19 years of age, friendships which are as intense as these always involve a degree of ambiguity: one depends on the other, there’s a physical attraction which isn’t necessarily homosexual.

Luca Guadagnino also produced your second work, The Landlords. How did he become involved in this third project of yours?
We’re really good friends. I was already working with Olivia Musini from Cinemaundici. As soon as the script was ready, I asked Luca to read it, almost out of a sense of duty, so as to get the opinion of someone I respected and admired. In the end, Luca’s firm Frenesy came on board with our other production companies.

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(Translated from Italian)

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