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TIFF Cinematheque - Paul Verhoeven

24 Jan 2014

TIFF CINEMATHEQUE presents: FLESH + BLOOD: The films of Paul Verhoeven

This new series of films from Dutch auteur turned Hollywood director runs from January 24th to Apr 4th, 2014.  Those unfamiliar with his films will be in for a major surprise if one were to take his films from the beginning of his career to the present.

Paul Verhoeven is well known for his Hollywood action blockbusters ROBOCOP and TOTAL RECALL.  His sleazy SHOW GIRLS and BASIC INSTINCT also did extremely well at the box-office.

Film buffs will know Verhoeven from his Dutch days with art-house hits such as SOLDIER OF ORANGE and THE FOURTH MAN (my personal favorite).  Also presented are the less seen films but equally popular FLESH + BLOOD and TURKISH

For more details, complete program listing, venue and ticket pricing, please check the TIFF Cinematheque website at:

www.tiff.net

Capsule Reviews of Selected Films Below:

FLESH + BLOOD (Netherlands/USA 1985) ****
Directed by Paul Verhoeven

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Set in Western Europe in the medieval ages, FLESH + BLOOD is the story of a free lance fighter. Martin that has been cheated out of his spoils after aiding a captain win a kingdom back for a King.  The thing too is that Martin (Rutger Hauer) falls for the virginal princess (Jennifer Jason Leigh) destined to marry the Prince (Tom Burlinson).  He and the princess have lots of sex (after he rapes her) while falling in love for each other though the princess is till in love with the prince, who seems to do anything to get his bride back.  FLESH + BLOOD is the typical Verhoeven film, which means that there is plenty of nudity (I cannot believe how much bare skin Jennifer Jason Leigh has displayed in this film), gore, violence and foul language, with the addition of pestilence, plague and pillaging.  This is the type of medieval film that is so well made that one will lose his dinner appetite after watching the film.

THE FOURTH MAN (Netherlands 1983) *****

Directed by Paul Verhoeven

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The last of his Dutch films before moving to Hollywood, THE FOURTH MAN is likely the most violent (the last scene in the construction yard is unforgettable) of his films.  This is my personal favorite for the fact that Verhoeven is uncompromising in his vision of telling the tale.  His imprint and view of religion is seen throughout the film from the lead character Gerard (Jeroen Krabbe) drinking a Bloody Mary to his visions of her warnings.  The story is centred on a bisexual novelist Gerard Reve who is also an alcoholic.  He falls for a sexy treasurer at a literary society, Christine (Renee Soutendijk), a black widow who has done away wither first three lovers.  Gerard’s life is spared but he warns her next lover of being THE FOURTH MAN.  Nothing more should be said but that this film has to be seen to be believed!

SOLDIER OF ORANGE (SOLDAAT VAN ORANJE) Netherlands 1977 ****

Directed by Paul Verhoeven

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One of the most expensive and most successful Dutch films (even to this day) of all time, SOLDIER OF ORANGE shows director Verhoeven in more controlled mode with a film about Dutch heroes during World War II in occupied Netherlands.  A group of students from the town of Leiden led by Erik Lanshoff (Rutger Hauer) aid the Resistance in the fight against the Nazis.  Part of the story is also set in London where Queen Wilhelmina (Andrea Domburg) resides.  The students are aided by Colonel Rafelli (Edward Fox) but the fight is hard and not without casualties.  A classic war story with heroes, traitors, lost lives, lost loves that makes SOLDIER OF ORANGE an excellent war film worthy of its box-office success.

TURKISH DELIGHT (Netherlands 1973) ***
Directed by Paul Verhoeven

This difficult to watch film (because of language, violence, and nudity) tells the stormy relationship between Dutch sculptor, Erik Vonk (Rutger Hauer) and his wife, Olga (Monica van de Ven).  The story is told in flashbacks from the time they met, till they are separated and then get back together again.  Stormy is too soft a word to describe the couple’s relationship.  They make love, fight, scream and turn violent with not much help from Olga’s crazy unsettling mother (Tonny Huuderman).  It is hard to sympathize with these two caustic characters that have no redeeming qualities.  (Witness the scene in which Olga turns on a waitress who gave her coffee instead of tea though she had ordered coffee and not tea).   When Olga is diagnosed with a brain tumour (which could be the cause of the coffee/tea confusion), the audience is hardly sympathetic.  These two deserve each other.

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