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Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2015: #2. Paul Verhoeven’s Elle


Director: Paul Verhoeven // Writer: David Birke

One cannot overlook the plentiful cinematic contributions of Dutch auteur Paul Verhoeven, who made waves back in 1973 with Turkish Delight and helmed a handful of notable collaborations starring Rutger Hauer, though they parted ways indefinitely after Verhoeven’s 1985 English language debut, Flesh+Blood. Of course, Verhoeven’s US big-budget genre work, such as RoboCop (1987) and Total Recall (1990), both spawning recent lackluster remakes, and pulpy neo-noir Basic Instinct (1992) were overshadowed by the debacle that would come to be Showgirls (1995), now celebrated as one of the best worst films ever made. Twenty years after that, with only a few more features since, including 1997’s Starship Troopers, the maligned Hollow Man (2000) and a welcomed return to his native Holland for Black Book (2006), Verhoeven has been mostly an absent figure. In 2012, a mid-length film graced the lineup at the Rome Film Festival, while his long-gestating Jesus of Nazareth project still resides in the shadows of probable impossibility. But Verhoeven is set to begin production on a new feature this January, an adaptation of the novel Oh… by Betty Blue author Philippe Djian, which is to be headlined by none other than Isabelle Huppert. Additional cast members have been recently announced, including rising star Laurent Lafitte (who recently starred opposite Fanny Ardant in Bright Days Ahead), as well as Anne Consigny, who notably appeared in titles from Alain Resnais and Arnaud Desplechin. The film will also reunite Huppert with Charles Berling, her co-star from Les Destinees Sentimentales (2000) and The Comedy of Innocence (2000).

Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Charles Berling, Anne Consigny

Production Co.: SBS Productions

U.S. Distributor: Rights available.

Release Date: With filming kicking off in January, we’d imagine Verhoeven to be a heavy hitter in this year’s Venice Film Festival.


Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), FIPRESCI, the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2023: The Beast (Bonello) Poor Things (Lanthimos), Master Gardener (Schrader). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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