INSTINCT by Halina Reijn selected for the prestigious Piazza Grande screening at the Locarno International Film Festival

© Kris Dewitte

INSTINCT by Halina Reijn selected for the prestigious Piazza Grande screening at the Locarno International Film Festival

Today the Locarno International Film Festival announced that the directorial feature film debut INSTINCT by Halina Reijn will have its world premiere at the festival. Carice van Houten and Marwan Kenzari play the lead roles in the psychological thriller about an experienced psychologist who, despite of her professional expertise, becomes obsessed with a sex offender. Earlier this month it was announced that the Topkapi Films production will be the opening film of the Nederlands Film Festival. Halina Reijn and Carice van Houten, who co-produced the film with their production company Man Up, are proud. Carice van Houten:“It is one of my most precious film experiences and maybe the best film I have done. Rarely have I been able to act so freely.”


The Piazza Grande screening has an audience of around 8000 visitors per film, it is one of the biggest open-air screenings worldwide in the heart of Switzerland. INSTINCT is the first Dutch film ever to be selected for this prestigious part of the Locarno International Film Festival.


Carice van Houten (Game of Thrones) plays experienced psychologist Nicoline, who starts a new job at a penal institute. There she meets Idris, played by Marwan Kenzari (Wolf, Aladdin), a sex offender with some severe crimes to his name. After five years of treatment he is at the verge of being released. His treatment team is extremely positive about the progress he has made, but newcomer Nicoline does not trust him and tries to postpone his release. Idris tries everything to persuade Nicoline of his improvement, but slowly transforms into the manipulative man she saw in him from the start. Despite of her experience and expertise Nicoline gets entangled in this play for power.

Supporting roles are played by Marie-Mae van Zuilen, Ariane Schluter, Betty Schuurman, Pieter Embrechts, Tamar van den Dop, Robert de Hoog, Juda Goslinga and Akwasi Owusu Ansah.


INSTINCT was written by Esther Gerritsen based on an idea by Halina Reijn inspired by true events. Gerritsen is known for her novels De Trooster, Roxy and Dorst. She also co-wrote the feature film Nena for which she earned a Golden Calf nomination.


Halina Reijn has played many iconic roles in theatre (Obsession, La Voix Humaine, Hedda Gabler) as well as film (Zus & Zo, Zwartboek, Valkyrie), and has been signed to Ivo van Hove’s ITA since 2003. In 2005 she debuted her novel Prinsesje Nooitgenoeg and in 2013 she published the bestseller Antiglamour, co-written with Carice van Houten. She has also written many columns like her weekly column in the Flamish Saturday paper De Morgen. INSTINCT is her first film as a director.


INSTINCT is produced by Topkapi Films in co-production with Man Up and BNNVARA. The film was realized with the support of Het Nederlands Filmfonds, de Netherlands Film Production Incentive and CoBO. Distributor September Film will bring the film to theaters on October 3rd.