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Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2016: #3. Paul Verhoeven’s Elle


Director: Paul Verhoeven
Writers: David Birke, Harold Manning

Words cannot describe how excited we are to see the pairing of Paul Verhoeven and Isabelle Huppert in an adaptation of a thriller by Philippe Dijan (Betty Blue). The film is the first French language production for Verhoeven, and his first feature since 2006’s Black Book (yes, he had a medium length film, Tricked, in 2012). Verhoeven took the time to learn French before going into production, and we initially thought he might be ready to unveil by the end of 2015 since the shoot was half completed last February. Huppert stars as Michelle, the CEO of a gambling software company who is violently assaulted in her home one night by an assailant. Refusing to let the experience alter her disposition, she begins to stalk the perpetrator herself when he again makes his presence known.

Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Laurent Lafitte, Charles Berling, Anna Consigny, Christian Berkel, Judith Magre, Alice Isaaz

Production Co./Producer(s): SBS Productions’ Said Ben Said, Michel Merkt, Entre Chien et Loupe

U.S. Distributor: Rights available TBD (domestic) SBS Distribution (international)

Release Date: SBS Productions is set to have a phenomenal slate of films available in 2016/2017, with Elle perhaps the most provocative title. A tentative theatrical release date for Fall 2016 has been set, so we imagine a Cannes competition slot is hoped for (which would give Huppert a strong chance at securing a third Best Actress win at the festival). If so, it would be Verhoeven’s first time in competition since 1992’s Basic Instinct.

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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