‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Nina Kiri Set For ‘Absolution’

Nina Kiri, known for her role as Alma on “The Handmaid’s Tale,” has joined the cast of dystopian sci-fi adventure “Absolution.”

The title will be brought onto the market at Cannes’ Marché du Film Frontières platform, featuring in its Proof of Concept strand.   

The Serbian-Canadian actor is no stranger to genre, having appeared in “The Heretics,” “The Haunted House on Kirby Road” or “Let Her Out.” Soon, she will also be spotted in Christos Nikou’s “Fingernails” alongside Jessie Buckley. 

Directed by Filip Kovacevic, “Absolution” – a co-production between Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro – takes place in a barren wasteland, far removed from the mythical city of gods, with only one human settlement left. 

Under the leadership of a zealous priest, who started conducting human sacrifice rituals after experiencing a religious vision, people are dying out. But things start to change when his younger brother finds a mysterious young woman, buried in a strange capsule. Her fragmented memories call their beliefs into question.  

“We chose Nina because of her experience, since she already had a minor role in another dystopian project ‘See,’ alongside ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ She has a perfect disposition for this kind of mysterious, thoughtful, intelligent female character that ends up becoming a messianic figure showing the remaining humanity a path to the future,” said Kovacevic. 

“She is the heart of the movie.”  

“There is a lot of burgeoning talent coming from the Balkan region and I’m excited to support and collaborate with Filip,” added Kiri. 

The film is produced by Kovacevic, Djordje Stankovic and Vukota Antunovic for Void Pictures and Telekom Serbia, with Film Center Serbia also attached.

“It explores the current state of our modern world by transporting us to its distant post-apocalyptic future,” explains the helmer, also behind 2016 “Incarnation.” 

“The story takes place in a world that’s centuries removed from the sudden collapse of civilization, brought about by the destructive power of the most basic human fear that hides beneath all our anxieties: the fear of death.”

“I will keep the audience anchored in the subjective experience of the main character, in order to make this epic tale about the fall and rebirth of civilization approachable, personal and deeply emotional.”

Courtesy of Filip Kovacevic

The orange desert look of “Absolution” is inspired by Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah” and the Vegas sequence in “Blade Runner 2049,” he observed, with the “primitive” village shown in the film relying exclusively on natural materials and leftover metal. 

“Our producer Vukota Antunovic mentioned [these films] during one pitch and it’s a very good description. It’s a world two centuries removed from the advanced 22nd century that has already compromised the planet’s natural resources, so the ‘sandy’ part is not as extreme as in ‘Dune’ or ‘Mad Max.’”

“The female lead played by Nina comes from that ultra-modern reality, but she has amnesia. Throughout the story, she is putting the pieces of her past back together and tries to find her father, a very important figure in the events that led to the collapse of civilization as we know it. Actually, she has had a hand in them too.” 

The film, which will be shot in English, will start production in fall 2024. 

“We are confident that we have a strong project that could potentially reach the widest international audience,” noted Djordje Stankovic. 

“The script meets all the norms and rules of this popular genre, while subverting them to tell an original story infused with a strong dose of relevance and freshness that could render it highly visible on the international market.”