World Cinema coverage presented by San Francisco Film Society by Howard Feinstein (April 2, 2007)
[indie WIRE EDITOR’s NOTE: Sony Pictures Classics will release director Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book” in limited release in the U.S. Wednesday, April 4.]
There are several constants—crafty females and an obsession with sex and violence being the most obvious–but for the most part, Paul Verhoeven’s feature career is divisible into two parts: the upfront, character-driven movies he made in his native Holland between 1971 (“Business Is Business”) and 1983 (“The Fourth Man”); and the slick, faster moving genre films he directed in Hollywood from 1985 (“Flesh and Blood”) through 2000 (“Hollow Man”). Included in the Dutch group are such movies as “Turkish Delight” (1973), “Soldier of Orange” (1977); in the American, “RoboCop” (1987), “Basic Instinct” (1992), “Showgirls” (1995), and “Starship Troopers” (1997). For his latest film, “Black Book,” he returned to Holland, where he reteamed with Gerard Souteman, the screenwriter for most of the films he had made there. A masterly synthesis, “Black Book” blurs the line between early and late Verhoeven. Combining the gutsy openness of his Dutch films with the sophisticated technique he learned in Hollywood, the 68-year-old director exposes the skeletons in Holland’s wartime closet.
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