Berlin-based international sales agent Films Boutique has picked up psychological thriller “Instinct,” starring Carice van Houten, who received an Emmy nomination Tuesday for “Game of Thrones,” and Marwan Kenzari, recently seen in Guy Ritchie’s “Aladdin.” “Instinct” has its world premiere on the Piazza Grande at the Locarno Film Festival next month.
“Instinct,” the directorial debut of Halina Reijn, and written by Esther Gerritsen and Reijn, centers on a seasoned psychologist, who – in spite of her expertise and experience – becomes infatuated by the sex offender she is treating in a penal institution.
Nicoline (van Houten) starts a new job as a psychologist at a penal institution, where she meets Idris (Kenzari), a sex offender who committed a series of grave 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, but Nicoline does not trust him, and tries to extend his probation.
Idris tries his hardest to convince Nicoline of his good intentions, but he slowly transforms into the manipulator she saw in him from the beginning. A power play emerges between the two and Nicoline, in spite of her knowledge and experience, lets herself be trapped.
Popular on Variety
“Halina Reijn offers a dense psychological thriller that refuses Manicheanism by exploring the gray zones of sexual self-determination,” said Louis Balsan, COO at Films Boutique. “It obviously resonates with the current discourse, and while clearly denouncing any kind of violence, the film explores the thin boundaries between longing and fantasies versus the rationality we impose [on] ourselves. Carice van Houten and Marwan Kenzari’s familiar faces will captivate audience with their sizzling performance.”
Frans van Gestel, Laurette Schillings and Arnold Heslenfeld produce for Topkapi Films. Reijn’s and van Houten’s Man Up Film and BNNVARA co-produce. Nederlands Film Fonds, Netherlands Production Incentive and CoBo supported the pic. September Film will release the film in the Netherlands on Oct. 3.
Reijn has acted in numerous plays, TV series and movies, including the Oscar-nominated “Zus & Zo,” “Black Book” and “Valkyrie.” She has worked with renowned avant-garde stage director Ivo van Hove at the Internationaal Theater Amsterdam since 2012. Reijn wrote the novel “Prinsesje Nooitgenoeg,” and co-wrote with van Houten the autobiographical book “Antiglamour.”
Gerritsen is known for her novels “De Trooster,” “Roxy” and “Dorst,” and co-wrote the screenplays for feature films “Nena” and “Dorst.”