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PRODUCTION / FUNDING Netherlands

Urszula Antoniak wraps post-production on Splendid Isolation

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- The sixth feature by the Polish-Dutch director broaches the subject of the death of a loved one in an allegorical manner

Urszula Antoniak wraps post-production on Splendid Isolation
Director Urszula Antoniak and actress Anneke Sluiters on the set of Splendid Isolation

The Netherlands’ Family Affair Films, known for producing artistic feature films with a strong auteur-driven vision, has been backing Urszula Antoniak’s projects since her debut, Nothing Personal [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Urszula Antoniak
interview: Urszula Antoniak
film profile
]
(awarded Best First Feature and the FIPRESCI Prize at Locarno in 2009). Once again, it is serving as the production company behind her sixth feature film, Splendid Isolation, which recently wrapped post-production. Producers Floor Onrust and Noortje Wilschut assured a budget of €740,000 over 18 shooting days, and secured the support of the Netherlands Film Fund and the Netherlands Film Production Incentive.

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The plot focuses on lovers Anna and Hannah, who have fled an unknown disaster and believe they have found a safe haven on a desert island. Once they reach an abandoned house in the dunes, Anna goes back to her routine of caring for Hannah, who is in a fragile condition. One day, Hannah sees someone on the beach – a hint that Death has followed them to the island and that their days together are numbered.

Splendid Isolation is an allegorical story about leaving your beloved to death,” explains Antoniak. “Time freezes when every moment you spend together could be the very last one. Saying goodbye is a process driven by hope and denial, cut short by the arrival of death. The one who leaves and the one who stays behind: both feel guilty of abandoning the other.” Antoniak, who has also written the script, poses the question of whether we could save our loved ones by sacrificing ourselves, and suggests that maybe the guilt we feel after the death of someone we loved overwhelms us because deep down, we know we could have but we didn't. The intimate, lyrical tone of the film has been complemented by the music of Antonio Vivaldi and Henry Purcell, included in the soundtrack.

The two main female parts have been handed to Anneke Sluiters (also appearing in the hallucinogenic Hotel Poseidon [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Stef Lernous
film profile
]
and the romantic comedy Tulipani: Love, Honour and a Bicycle [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
) and Khadija El Kharraz Alami, who has some extensive theatre experience behind her, while playwright-director-actor Abke Haring performs as Death, although the character was initially intended for a male actor.

A date for the premiere has not yet been confirmed, but September Film has been announced as the company in charge of its distribution.

Meanwhile, Antoniak is already working on the animated feature Animal Matrix, and her next feature-length fiction project is the Polish-Dutch co-production Stranger.

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