Fien Troch
Film Fest Gent
  • Tue 10.10
    19:00 - 22:20
    100' - 2023 - Drama - Taal: Nederlands

Fien Troch opens the 50th anniversary edition of Film Fest Gent with an intriguing portrait of a 15-year-old girl who seems to have predicted a deadly school fire, and becomes a mourning community's medium for solace.

Holly is an ordinary fifteen-year-old girl. She doesn't have many friends, and she's not exactly the most popular in her class. Only her sister and Bart, a neurodiverse boy, occasionally bring a smile to Holly's face. Her grades leave much to be desired, and when asked if she's bullied, she dryly replies, "sometimes." But her response to the bullying sets her apart. "I feel sorry for them," she informs a teacher. Holly displays almost supernatural empathy. Is it genuine compassion or naivety? As a wallflower, she lives an unnoticed existence. Until one day she has a strange premonition, calls off for school, warns them too, and consequently escapes a disastrous fire. Suddenly, all eyes are on Holly, and she finds herself caught in a whirlwind she did not choose.

Seven years after winning the Audience Award and the Georges Delerue Award for Best Music with the internationally acclaimed Home, director Fien Troch returns to Ghent with this intriguing portrait that refuses to be defined and breaks free of all comparisons. From her debut film Een ander zijn geluk (2005) and the subsequent Unspoken (2008) – both dealing with unspeakable loss – it was clear that Troch possesses a unique cinematic voice. With Kid (2012) and Home, she not only confirmed her talent but also continued to explore the complex emotions of children and adolescents, as well as how we, as humans, cope with life's darker aspects. Holly is a poignant study of collective trauma and of our need to believe in something or someone when times get tough. Like her previous films, Holly dares to delve into discomfort without sacrificing Troch's intuitive and sensitive perspective. Frank van den Eeden's cinematography favors close-ups and captures genuine emotions – from regret, fear, and panic to confusion and despair – while Troch gradually allows darkness to seep in and blend with her characters. That uneasy, mysterious feeling you can hardly put your finger on, creeps into the film thanks to Nico Leunen's editing. Mix in Johnny Jewel's clashing score and the remarkable performance by the Venice award-winning newcomer Cathalina Geeraerts, and you'll understand why Holly was a contender for the Golden Lion in Venice.

Director - Fien Troch
Composer - Johnny Jewel

With Cathalina Geeraerts, Greet Verstraete, Felix Heremans, Els Deceukelier, Serdi Faki Alici, Maya Louisa Sterkendries, Robbie Cleiren, Sara de Bosschere, Mohamed Kajtazi, Aminata Demba

Scenario - Fien Troch

Director of Photography - Frank van den Eeden

Editor - Nico Leunen
Producer - Antonino Lombardo, Elisa Heene
Co-Producer - Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Delphine Tomson, Frans Van Gestel, Anita Voorham, Donato Rotunno, Juliette Schrameck
Production - studiosMirage, Prime Time
Distributor - Cinéart

Dialogue - Dutch
Countries of production - Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Luxemburg