Today the BFI London Film Festival announced that the directorial debut of Halina Reijn, INSTINCT, is selected for the festivals First Feature Competition. With this nomination the film is in the running for a Sutherland Trophy Award. The British festival on INSTINCT: “Our team found INSTINCT to be a beautifully realised and smartly provocative meditation on such complex themes as desire, abuse and consent, driven by a remarkable performance from Carice van Houten at the centre. It is an impressively assured first feature, and it would be our huge pleasure to bring the film to our audiences in London.” Earlier this month, the film produced by Topkapi Films, had its world premiere at the Locarno International Film Festival. During the festival INSTINCT won the Variety Piazza Grande award and received a Special Mention within the debut competition. It was also announced that the film will have its North American premiere mid-September in Toronto. INSTINCT will be opening the Netherlands Film Festival on the 27th of September.
Halina Reijn and Carice van Houten, who co-produced the film with their production company Man Up: “We are extremely grateful for the words of the London Film Festival, because it reveals precisely the intention of this film. We can hardly comprehend all that is happening with INSTINCT and are especially happy that people from all over the world are touched by the theme and the story.”
In INSTINCT Carice van Houten (Game of Thrones) plays the experienced psychologist Nicoline, who is starting a new job at a penal institution. In the institution she meets Idris, played by Marwan Kenzari (Wolf, Aladdin), a sex offender who has been responsible for a number of serious crimes. After five years of treatment he is about to go on his first unaccompanied probation. His team of practitioners is enthusiastic about his development and behaviour, but newcomer Nicoline does not trust him an inch. She tries to push his probation. Idris tries his hardest to convince Nicoline of his good intentions, but he slowly but surely transforms into the manipulative man she saw in him from the beginning. A powerplay emerges between the two and Nicole, in spite of her knowledge and experience, lets herself be trapped completely.
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 Nooit genoeg and in 2013 she published the bestseller Antiglamour, co-written with Carice van Houten. She has also written many columns, among which 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 The Netherlands Film Fund, the Netherlands Film Production Incentive and CoBO. Distributor September Film will release the film in theaters on October 3rd.