France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands / Color / status : completed / Flemish
15-year-old Holly calls her school to say she is staying home for the day. Soon after, a fire breaks out at the school, killing several students. With everyone touched by the tragedy, the community comes together, trying to heal. Anna, a teacher, intrigued by Holly and her strange premonition, invites her to join the volunteering group she runs. Holly’s presence seem to bring peace of mind, warmth, and hope to those she encounters. But soon, people begin to seek out Holly and her cathartic energy, demanding more and more from the young girl.
Orizzonti winner Fien Troch (Home) draws on a fantastical drama to question how people turn to faith when faced with adversity and the limits of self-belief. Executive-produced by the Dardenne brothers and shot by Frank van den Eeden (Close), HOLLY features a breakthrough performance by Cathalina Geerarts.
“A fantastic escape in all meanings of the word in the mysterious lands of faith and peer pressure. Through the chaotic destiny of his heroine, Fien Troch questions our relationship to others and to faith: what makes us believe, and what makes us doubt? How does the gaze of others condition and shape us? For both image and sound, Fien Troch refers to genre cinema. Holly is tense like a horror movie. Johnny Jewel’s music takes us into the world of possessed heroines, as in Carrie or The Exorcist, while the context itself is extremely realistic. Holly is amazingly played by the young Cathalina Geeraerts, in her very first role.”
“An atmospheric, intriguingly sparse metaphysical drama where a teenage girl pays a high price for her remarkable gifts. This is enigmatic, deconstructed storytelling – as much a series of intense memory fragments as a linear narrative. This latest addition to the ‘teen girl with powers’ genre is a mysterious, evasive story. And beneath this tale of a high school outsider, the film asks philosophical questions: about the parasitic nature of the need for spiritual comfort; about doing good, and whether a truly selfless act can ever really exist.”