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Holi-days

Holi-daysOVERVIEW

Language: English
Running Time: 50 minutes
Medium: BETA SP


CAST & CREW

Director: Randi Steinberger
Editor: Fabienne Rawley
Distributor: International - WGBH
Producer's Representative: Ostrow and Company

REVIEW

What emerges from this watchable documentary is the realization that Tourism is its own global nation now, a floating, borderless land of trophy experiences, photo ops, shopportunities, dramatic re-enactments and commemorative coffee mugs, where the scenery changes but the mind-set never does, where you "do" Europe in 12 days, where you stand in the same line to see the Western Wall, the Uffizi and Siegfried & Roy. "Maybe they come as pilgrims," one tourist in Jerusalem scoffs during a rendition of Christ's~torment (putting the fiction in crucifixion, shows at 6 and 8!), "but it all ends in tourism."

-- Scott Dickensheets



SYNOPSIS

Inspired by the quote from St. Francis of Assisi, "you are what you are seeking," award-winning filmmaker Randi Steinberger set out to document her observations and those of the contemporary traveler. Shot entirely in the three mythic cities of Jerusalem, Florence and Las Vegas, tourists, guides and experts reveal a subtle contradiction between the modern pilgrims' anticipated expectations and their actual experiences.

In Jerusalem, a religious center of three major faiths, we see those who are visibly moved by the holy sites, as well others with the confused interest of trying to secure the perfect pseudo-artifact souvenir.

In Florence, cradle of the Renaissance, we watch curious tourists in long lines patiently awaiting their glimpse of Boticelli's Birth of Venus, while outside, in the many open-air markets, others eagerly await their chance to find the leather bargains of their dreams.

Lastly we arrive in Las Vegas, the city where entertainment has become culture and miracles are of a completely different sort. This town is bursting with spectators enjoying its ability to replicate the physical icons of global travel: the Eiffel Tower, the Canals of Venice, and the Statue of Liberty, to name a few. As one tourist happily exclaims, "I'm never going to Paris�so I think it's worth it to see it here."

Holi-days suggests that the transformation we seek can be as profound as a religious epiphany, as superficial as a successful shopping spree, or as life changing as winning the big jackpot. We are subtly reminded that if and when we journey to seek change, we should be sure to remember to pack our sense of humor.