Dennis2/The Rage suggests Turkish Delight (in Foreign Language). It makes sense, doesn’t it? Rembrandt – Vermeer – Van Gogh – Mondrian – Paul Verhoeven. It has been a long time coming, but I think the time is right to finally just put it out there and canonize the latest Dutch Master; the infamous director of such delicate, intimate masterpieces as Robocop, Starship Troopers, Total Recall and Basic Instinct. So, in this episode of Go Dutch, Be Happy, an older Verhoeven, made in 1973. It was actually nominated for an Oscar, but lost to a Truffaut movie. I guess the world wasn’t ready for this unapologetically exuberant love story with a tragic ending. Never a director for the few, Verhoeven chose one of the most read Dutch novels (I guess most read in Holland, although it has been translated into English) with the same title, written by Jan
Wolkers. In Dutch high schools, the higher the level, the more books you’re supposed to read (which seems a little crooked to me, it’s the dumb kids that should be doing more reading). So if you could ease the pain by reading a book with a lot of sex, why not? This book is about sex and death, and when it was published, many high schools banned it from the kids’ reading lists. Paul Verhoeven, who just wrote a biography of Jesus, and censorship were never a very close couple, so he took it upon him to make a movie out of it. In the book and the movie, Eric (Rutger Hauer) and Olga (Monique van de Ven, I checked IMDB, and apparently she was in a ‘Starsky and Hutch’ episode) meet and start a stormy, erotic romance ending in an impromptu marriage. Eric is an outspoken sculptor, and Olga is also not the type to carefully consider what she is going to yell, so the relationship is filled with jealousy, passion, anger, and anything in between. It doesn’t last long before the two part their ways, but that’s not where it ends. In Wolkers’ novels, death is always luring, and in that sense all of Eric and Olga’s passion, or life, seem an attempt to stay one step ahead of the inevitable. Apart from all that, it’s just great to see a young Rutger Hauer wearing awesome shirts. Monique van de Ven is gorgeous, and seventies Amsterdam is the perfect stage for all this joie de vivre/mourir. I loved it in high school, and still think it’s great. Buy the book: it’s for sale on Amazon, at 314 dollars. Really!