Instinct, the psychological thriller starring Game of Thrones‘ Carice van Houten and Aladdin‘s Marwan Kenzari, has been chosen by The Netherlands as the country’s official selection in the Oscars’ International Feature Film race.
The pic, which won an award for its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival and is prepping for its North American premiere this month at Toronto, is from first-time feature director Halina Reijn. The plot revolves around and experienced psychologist (van Houten, who played Melisandre on Game of Thrones) working in a penal institution who becomes obsessed with a sex offender (Kenzari, Jafar from this year’s Aladdin) who appears to be ready to return to society. (See a trailer below.)
Topkapi Films produced in a co-production with Man Up and BNNVARA, and is supported by the Netherlands Film Fund, the Netherlands Film Production Incentive en CoBO Fund. Films Boutique is handling international sales and ICM Partners is repping U.S.
Also on Monday, Finland selected Selma Vihunen’s Stupid Young Heart as its entry. The pic reunited Vihunen and screenwriter Kirsikka Saari, whose Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? was Oscar nominated in 2014 for Best Live Action Short.
The Finish Film Foundation made the selection citing the “humane and unusual love story of two East Helsinki natives.” Rosa Honkonen and Jere Ristseppä star alongside Ville Haapasalo, Abshir Sheikh Nur and Katja Küttner.
The pic, which premiered at Toronto in 2018, is a co-production among Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands and produced by Elli Toivoniemi and Venla Hellstedt from Tuffi Films Oy. It bowed in October in its native Finland via Nordisk, just within the Oscar eligibility period.
Here’s the Instinct trailer, followed by the list of 2020 Oscar submissions to date.