The Netherlands has selected its acclaimed Dutch drama film, ‘Sweet Dreams’ by director Ena Sendijarevic, as its official entry, in the International Feature category for the 96th Academy Awards, in 2024.
The film had its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival in August, winning the film’s actress Renee Soutendijk a best performance award. In addition, ‘Sweet Dreams’ is also set to get its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, according to Hollywood Reporter.
According to the film’s description, ‘Sweet Dreams’ is a dark humour based satire which is very ‘unforgiving’ in its take on European colonialism, showcasing how the lavish aesthetics and majestic lifestyle of colonial Europe soon came to a bitter end, and how its power and standard was reduced.
The synopsis reads: “On an Indonesian island, 1900, Dutch sugar plantation owner Jan and his wife, Agathe, are at the top of the food chain. Until Jan upon returning from his nightly visit to his native concubine Siti, suddenly drops dead.
“To keep her status quo, Agathe forces her son Cornelis and his pregnant wife Josefien to travel from Europe and take over the family business. In the midst of a worker’s 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.”
Talking about the film being selected as the country’s official Oscar nomination, director Ena Sendijarevic said: “What an honour and joy it is for me, that ‘Sweet Dreams’ has been chosen as the official Dutch selection for the Academy Awards.
“In this film, I wanted to look at the demise of the Dutch colonial era through a satirical lens. I’m very happy with the support and the visibility it will create for our film and its subject,” she added.
The Netherlands has won the Oscars for Best International Feature, previously called the Best Foreign-language film honour, three times and has been nominated another four times. Its last win came for Mike van Diem’s 1997 movie ‘Character’.