Holy Rollers is one serious trip – Sundance

The following is the 3rd entry by The Art Quarterly’s Sundance correspondent, Joanna Rudolph.

11:34 AM MST – Park City, UT:

Based on a true story, the film “Holy Rollers” explores the theme of loss of innocence by following 20 year old Sam Gold (played fantastically by Jesse Eisenberg), a Hasidic Jew who transforms into a secular Jew as he takes up a new vocation– Ecstasy smuggling.

Initially wide-eyed to the drug smuggling trade, Sam eventually embraces the 1998 Ecstasy / rave culture. In doing so, he falls further aways from his faith as evidenced by his change in attire and in a powerful scene, he chops off his curls.

Much like how Sam loses his innocence, visual artists have been known to do so as well. For example, the death of a close friend represented Picasso’s growth into adulthood and a loss of innocence, which were expressed in his paintings. Basquiat’s personal life also impacted his work in that as he became famous, his paintings became more political in terms of the themes he explored. And of course there’s the self-portrait of Van Gough, who cut off his ear, an act that can also be interpreted as a loss of innocence.

It is this “character arc” that is explored in “Holy Rollers” and seen in fine art that makes for complex and fascinating work.

Author: JoannaRudolph

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