Oscars: Netherlands Selects 'Instinct' for International Feature Film Category

Instinct - Still 1 - Locarno Film Festival - Publicity - H 2019
Locarno Film Festival

'Game of Thrones' actress Carice van Houten plays a prison therapist who falls for a convicted rapist, played by 'Aladdin' actor Marwan Kenzari, in this psychological thriller from actress turned director Halina Reijn.

The Netherlands has picked Halina Reijn's dark psychological thriller Instinct to be its contender for the 2020 Oscars in the international feature film category.

The film stars Game of Thrones' Carice van Houten as a prison therapist who becomes obsessed with a convicted serial rapist, played by Marwan Kenzari (Jafar from Disney's live-action Aladdin).

Instinct premiered at the Locarno Film Festival and will also screen in Toronto in the Contemporary World Cinema section. It is the directorial debut of Dutch actress Halina Reijn (Valkyrie, Black Book). A critical hit, the subtle psychological drama has been compared to the early work of fellow Dutch director Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct).

For a small country, the Netherlands has one of the best records at the Oscars in the category formerly known as best foreign language film. Seven Dutch titles have been nominated, and three have won the Oscar: Fons Rademakers' The Assault in 1986, Antonia's Line from Marleen Gorris in 1995 and Mike van Diem's Character in 1997. The last time a film from the Netherlands received an Oscar nomination was for Ben Sombogaart's Twin Sisters in 2003.

The nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards will take place on Jan. 13, and the Oscar ceremony will be held Feb. 9.