Heretic has acquired world sales rights to “Sweet Dreams,” the sophomore feature from award-winning Bosnian Dutch director Ena Sendijarević (“Take Me Somewhere Nice”).
Set on a remote Indonesian island during the waning days of the colonial era, the film centers on Dutch sugar plantation owner Jan and his wife, Agathe, who are at the top of the food chain. That is, until Jan, upon returning from his nightly visit to his native concubine, Siti, suddenly drops dead in front of his wife.
Desperate to keep the privileges of her status quo, Agathe forces her estranged son Cornelis and his heavily pregnant wife, Josefien, to travel from Europe and take over the family business. In the midst of a workers’ uprising, Cornelis displays his plans for progressive change. But when Jan’s will puts Siti at the forefront of the family estate, ideals prove to be idle and blood thicker than water.
Describing it as an “audacious tale of the tragic and delicious demise of European colonialism,” Heretic is billing Sendijarević’s latest as “unforgiving satire meets lavish aesthetics in a game of cat and mouse.”
“Through this satirical period film about a Dutch-Indonesian family that is trying to deal with their heritage, I wanted to address Europe’s colonial history, to understand how the past influences Western Europe’s relationship with the rest of the world today,” said Sendijarević.
“Sweet Dreams” is produced by Erik Glijnis and Leontine Petit of Lemming Film, in co-production with Erik Hemmendorff of Plattform Produktion, Kristina Börjeson of Film I Vast, Martien Vlietman of VPRO and Mandy Marahimin of Tala Media. The cast includes veteran Dutch actress and Paul Verhoeven muse Renée Soutendijk (“The Fourth Man,” “Suspiria”). Sales of “Sweet Dreams” will be co-represented by LevelK as part of a temporary cooperation with Heretic.
The acquisition marks the second collaboration between the Athens-based sales and production outfit and Sendijarević, whose debut, “Take Me Somewhere Nice,” won the Special Jury Award at Rotterdam as well as the top prize at the Sarajevo Film Festival.
The deal also cements Heretic’s relationship with leading Dutch production house Lemming Film, after the duo co-produced the Tribeca title “Do Not Hesitate” and the upcoming “Swimming Home,” as well as with Plattform Produktion, which alongside Heretic co-produced Ruben Östlund’s Oscar nominee and Palme d’Or winner “Triangle of Sadness.” Heretic’s sales arm also repped Plattform’s Sundance title “And the King Said, What a Fantastic Machine.”
Heretic’s head of sales and acquisitions, Ioanna Stais, said: “Ena’s razor-sharp approach undoubtedly sets her among the most prominent talents of her generation. It’s wonderful to support a creator who balances social commentary, entertainment and signature aesthetics through a uniquely uncompromising female gaze. She has proved herself a bold creator and certainly one to watch out for.”
Lemming Film producer Erik Glijnis added: “We’re very excited to collaborate with Heretic and together bring Ena Sendijarević’s ‘Sweet Dreams’ to the market. The film, which presents a heightened form of reality, critically examines the European colonial past.”
Heretic’s current lineup includes the Cannes Critics’ Week selection “It’s Raining in the House,” by Paloma Sermon-Daï.