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‘Black Book’ Gets Check, Not Chicks

One of the most sought after films of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) seems to have finally found a home. Sony Picture Classics, known for their ability to promote foreign language films, has reportedly reached an agreement to purchase Paul Verhoeven’s Black Book following an exceptional showing at Wednesday’s Gala Premier at TIFF.

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> Soldier of Orange

One of the most sought after films of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) seems to have finally found a home. Sony Picture Classics, known for their ability to promote foreign language films, has reportedly reached an agreement to purchase Paul Verhoeven’s Black Book following an exceptional showing at Wednesday’s Gala Premier at TIFF.

Paul Verhoeven has been a virtual outcast in Hollywood following several well publicized flops that included the epitome of movie failure 1995’s “Showgirls”. The latest project stars Carice van Houten as a Jewish cabaret singer who goes into hiding in the Netherlands during WWII and joins the Resistance movement against the Nazis. The suspense thriller, filmed in the Netherlands. The cast also includes Halina Reijn and Dutch actor Thom Hoffman. The lead German parts are played by Sebastian Koch, Christian Berkel and Waldemar Kobus. The new film marks Verhoeven’s return to his native land of the Netherlands and to the subject that first won him acclaim with the 1977 WWII flick Soldier of Orange.

Speculation abounded at TIFF regarding the bidding war reportedly going on behind closed doors following the premier and a previous industry screening that lit the fire of discussion regarding the production. Although Sony Pictures Classics has refused comment on the purchase, estimates place the purchase price as high as seven figures. Though not known for critically acclaimed works, Verhoeven is no stranger to blockbuster stats and notoriety. His credits include hits in the US Total Recall, Basic Instinct, and “Starship Troopers”. This year’s “Black Book” will be the Netherlands official submission for the foreign language Oscars.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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