Flesh + Blood: The Films of Paul Verhoeven

Flesh + Blood: The Films of Paul Verhoeven

Flesh + Blood: The Films of Paul Verhoeven

Flesh + Blood: The Films of Paul Verhoeven

Flesh + Blood: The Films of Paul Verhoeven

Series - Retrospective

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Indulge your basest instincts with this long-awaited retrospective devoted to the sardonic and salacious sinema of the Dutch (provoc)auteur.

Films in Flesh + Blood: The Films of Paul Verhoeven

    • Spetters
    • Paul Verhoeven
    • Verhoeven's tale of three small-town friends who dream of escaping their drab surroundings by finding fame on the national motocross circuit sparked controversy with its portrait of conservative religion, thuggish police and predatory homosexuals.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • The Fourth Man
    • De vierde man
    • Paul Verhoeven
    • Verhoeven scored an international art-house hit with this baroque Hitchcockian thriller about an alcoholic, bisexual novelist (Jeroen Krabbé) who becomes entangled in the murderous web of a sizzling femme fatale (Renée Soutjendijk).

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Flesh + Blood
    • Paul Verhoeven
    • A 16th-century mercenary (Rutger Hauer) sparks a brutal siege when he kidnaps a young noblewoman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) in Verhoeven's pungently nasty medieval action saga.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Total Recall
    • Paul Verhoeven
    • Verhoeven teamed with Arnold Schwarzenegger for this stupendously violent, gleefully nasty and polymorphously perverse science-fiction thriller (very loosely) adapted from the brain-twisting story by Philip K. Dick.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • RoboCop
    • Paul Verhoeven
    • A cyborg law-enforcement unit (Peter Weller) cleans up the crime-ridden streets of a destitute, near-future Detroit, in Verhoeven's blockbuster sci-fi thriller.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Basic Instinct
    • Paul Verhoeven
    • A bad-apple homicide cop (Michael Douglas) risks getting a dagger up his strap when he embarks on a torrid affair with a brazenly bisexual murder suspect (Sharon Stone) in Verhoeven's slickly seedy eroto-thriller.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Showgirls introduced by Adam Nayman
    • Toronto film critic Adam Nayman, author of the forthcoming monograph It Doesn't Suck: Showgirls, introduces Paul Verhoeven's deliciously decadent cult classic.

      Prior to the screening, Nayman will be signing copies of his book (available for sale near Concessions) outside of Cinema 3 from 9pm to 9:45pm.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Starship Troopers
    • Paul Verhoeven
    • Square-jawed Johnny Rico and his fellow grunts embark on a bloody, planet-hopping campaign to eradicate an invading insectoid alien race, in Verhoeven's grandiose burlesque of Robert A. Heinlein's fervently right-wing 1950s sci-fi epic.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Hollow Man
    • Paul Verhoeven
    • A brilliant, arrogant military scientist (Kevin Bacon) turns murderously megalomaniacal when he ingests an invisibility serum, in Verhoeven's last Hollywood film to date.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Black Book
    • Zwartboek
    • Paul Verhoeven
    • Verhoeven's first Dutch film in two decades returned him to the dark moral territory of his earlier hit Soldier of Orange with its story of a Jewish singer (Carice van Houten) who joins the Dutch resistance and quickly discovers that, in wartime, the lines between good and evil are very blurry indeed.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Tricked
    • Steekspel
    • Paul Verhoeven
    • A lively combination of corporate intrigue and sex comedy, Verhoeven's latest film was made via a "user-generated" narrative which incorporated story suggestions submitted by the public.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Business Is Business
    • Wat zien ik
    • Paul Verhoeven
    • Paul Verhoeven made his feature-film debut with this cheerfully smutty, episodic sex comedy about a pair of prostitutes who entertain their clients' bizarre sexual fantasies in a canal house/cathouse in Amsterdam.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Turkish Delight
    • Turks fruit
    • Paul Verhoeven
    • The highest-grossing Dutch feature ever made, Verhoeven's brutal, erotic, hilarious, disgusting, and desperately moving tale of the rocky love affair between a lusty bohemian sculptor (Rutger Hauer) and his wild-child bride (Monique van de Ven) remains an anarchic milestone of seventies international cinema.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Katie Tippel
    • Keetje Tippel
    • Paul Verhoeven
    • A beautiful young country girl (Monique van de Ven) gets an education in the school of hard knocks when she arrives in 1880s Amsterdam, in Verhoeven's lush and lusty proletarian picaresque.

    • No events playing at this time.
    • Soldier of Orange
    • Soldaat van Oranje
    • Paul Verhoeven
    • Two upper-class university friends (Rutger Hauer and Jeroen Krabbé) join the Dutch resistance when their homeland is overrun by the Nazis, in Verhoeven's tremendously exciting and morally complex WWII epic.

    • No events playing at this time.

While there are certainly other filmmakers whose career journeys have been as strange as that of Paul Verhoeven, there are few who have so blithely and cheerfully embraced that journey's contradictions. A national hero in the Netherlands and an emerging art-house superstar on the international festival circuit after his Dutch features Turkish Delight, Katie Tippel, Soldier of Orange and The Fourth Man, Verhoeven nonetheless felt the critical lash early on with the outraged domestic response to his controversial motocross epic Spetters — a precursor for the vitriolic attacks he would receive a short decade later.

Relocating to the US, this one-time art-house darling became the very definition of the crassly commercial Hollywood blockbuster specialist, helming FX-heavy action-movie juggernauts (RoboCop, Total Recall) and bringing a gleamingly expensive sheen to button-pushing sleaze (Basic Instinct). Yet when he pushed big-budget exploitation to its extremes in Showgirls, it proved too much for even Hollywood to handle. Though Verhoeven was not exactly run out of town on a rail following that critically reviled and much-mocked box-office turkey, the middling commercial performance of his follow-ups Starship Troopers and Hollow Man left him wandering in Hollywood's development wilderness.

And yet resurrection was in the cards for the redoubtable Dutchman. Following the director's triumphant homecoming to Holland with Black Book in 2006, Verhoeven's Hollywood career was subjected to a full-scale campaign of critical reclamation (one that continues apace with the release of a new monograph on Showgirls by Toronto critic and TIFF Reel Talk host Adam Nayman). No longer a studio sellout, Verhoeven was reborn as a satirist, a parodist, a burlesque artist whose genuine artistic affinity for the sexual, the scatological and the violent in his "art-house" era had been transformed, during his Hollywood sojourn, into a sardonically grotesque exaggeration of those tropes. Having his cake and eating it too, Verhoeven both exemplified Hollywood vulgarity and exploded it by taking it beyond its usual cheap, compromising timidity, his salacious cinematic appetites not only bridging the always thin division between "art" and "trash," but those between "serious" and "unserious" and "good" and "bad."

Marking the Canadian premiere of Verhoeven's new film Tricked — a "user-generated" movie whose narrative was devised and filmed piecemeal based on suggested story ideas from the public — this much-anticipated retrospective celebrates a filmmaker who, like his hard-driving Showgirls heroine Nomi Malone, has fought his way to critical vindication by wading through the deepest troughs of degradation. And what better to say about such a wilfully vulgar, cheerfully tasteless and undeniably accomplished oeuvre than Nomi's ultimate term of praise: "Doesn't suck."