Sort of a cross between "Love Story" and an earthy Rembrandt painting, this movie stars Rutger Hauer as a gifted Dutch sculptor who has a stormy, erotic, and star-crossed romance with a ... See full summary »
Monique van de Ven,
A band of medieval mercenaries take revenge on a noble lord who decides not to pay them by kidnapping the betrothed of the noble's son. As the plague and warfare cut a swathe of destruction... See full summary »
Jennifer Jason Leigh,
A Dutch film, post-Saturday Night Fever, which follows the lives of three young men who are amateur dirt-bike motorcycle racers. They each fall in love with a young woman who, with her ... See full summary »
Hans van Tongeren,
Blonde Greet is an experienced, but kind hearted, prostitute in the Red Light District of Amsterdam. Her friend and also whore Nel lives on the second floor of her house, and is explored ... See full summary »
When Michelle, the CEO of a gaming software company, is attacked in her home by an unknown assailant, she refuses to let it alter her precisely ordered life. She manages crises involving ... See full summary »
Israel 1956. Rachel, a Jew, rather unexpectedly meets an old friend at the kibbutz where she is working as a teacher. It brings back memories of her experiences in The Netherlands during the war, memories of betrayal. September 1944. Rachel is in trouble when her hiding place is bombed by allied troops. She gets in contact with a man from the resistance and joins a group of Jews who are to be smuggled across the Biesbosch by boat to the freed South Netherlands. Germans from a patrol boat murder them all however. Only Rachel is able to escape. She is rescued by a resistance group under the leadership of Gerben Kuipers. When Kuipers' son is captured after trying to smuggle weapons, he asks Rachel to seduce SS-hauptsturmführer Ludwig Müntze. Soon she will find out the attack in the Biesbosch wasn't a coincidence. Written by
Arnoud Tiele (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Director Paul Verhoeven and screenwriter Gerard Soeteman got the idea for the movie while doing research for Soldier of Orange (1977). Instead of simply working the controversies surrounding the Dutch Resistance into the already top-heavy screenplay of Soldaat van Oranje, they decided to make a separate movie out of it. Verhoeven and Soeteman wrote the screenplay over a period of almost 20 years, and they finally solved many script problems by making the main character a woman. See more »
The Holland scenes ostensibly take place in April, 1945. By that time, most of Holland had already been liberated by the Allied forces. There is mention of British forces being defeated at Arnhem, which was in Sept, 1944, and the subsequent preparation for Hitler's birthday would mark the date as close to April, 1945. See more »
I attended the North American premiere of "Black Book" at the Toronto International Film Festival. Although my main interest lies in independent film, and I did see many indies as well as foreign films and documentaries in Toronto, I also saw a few of the "Gala" selections. Of those "big movies" on my list, the one which impressed me the most was this Dutch production from Paul Verhoeven. Set in Nazi-occupied Holland during World War II, the film centers around a young Jewish woman named Rachel, who changes her name (and hair, and personality, and more) to Ellis and enters an odyssey of determination and sheer luck in an effort to survive what would otherwise be certain death.
Make no mistake about it: this is an epic in the true sense of the word. The visuals are stunning. Everything about the production from the sound to the effects to the score says "big budget." The story is chock full of more twists and turns than just about any film I've seen in this genre. And just when you think that, perhaps, Verhoeven is beginning to stretch the bounds of credulity, you realize (at the end credits, if not before) that "Black Book" is based on fact.
Most of all, the film's power is due to the magnificent acting of Carice van Houten. Her Rachel/Ellis is a character so unique, so original, that it holds up against the great heroines of contemporary cinema. Combine her marvelous performance with a wonderful story and superb production values and you end up with a thrill ride from start to finish. "Black Book" left me breathless.
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