Instinct, the directorial debut of Dutch actress and producer Halina Reijn, has been chosen as the Dutch entry to compete for the Oscar for best foreign film.
The film, which features actress Carice van Houten in the lead role, premiered at the Locarno film festival where it won the Variety Piazza Grande Award.
In an interview in Locarno, Van Reijn said after years of being an actress producing films gave her a sense of liberation. ‘After having learned so much on international sets and working with very good directors, it is liberating to practice everything I learnt. And I am finally able to decide something has got to be yellow and not grey,’ she told Locarno live TV.
The film is about an experienced psychologists , played by Van Houten, who works at a psychiatric prison and has to decide to let a sex offender (Marwan Kenzari) out on leave. Unlike the rest of her team she is not convinced he can be trusted and a power struggle between the two ensues in which he tries to manipulate her into believing he has changed.
‘The film is controversial, and people either relate to the darkness and addiction depicted in the film, or they don’t,’ Carice van Houten, who co-produced the film, said. ‘But I hope it will help and comfort people.’
The American premiere of Instinct will take place at the Toronto International Film Festival next weekend and the film will open the Dutch Film Festival on September 27.
The Oscars will be awarded on February 9, 2020.
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