THE AMERICAN YEARS
Since director Paul Verhoeven started his filmmaking career in the 1960’s he has a thorn in the side of calvinistic Dutch society with his provocative, controversial and visceral blend of cinema. Not conforming to the prudish standards of conservative Holland the enfant terrible was effectively forced out of his home country in the early 80’s and left for the United States to aim his satirical lens on its psyche, its sensationalist media and the mirage of the American Dream. Coinciding with the release of his newest film we honor our most revered auteur by bringing to our cinema all his American-made classics from his 1987’s breakout RoboCop to 2000’s ill-fated Hollow Man.
Born in Amsterdam in 1938, some of director Paul Verhoeven’s earliest memories are of Nazi and Allied planes falling from the sky into nearby fields. Verhoeven as a child let his curiosity lead him to visit the dead pilots, potentially molding his psyche to allow for the possibility that war holds more ambiguity than right versus wrong. Verhoeven’s work is considered by many violent and misogynistic, but in looking at his films, there is a clear sense not of hatred, but of yearning for a missing piece — of love, passion, memory, or fulfillment — that touches all his creations. His films may not have the warm-fuzzy images that make them easy to digest. He freely admits his films are violent, not for the sake of violence, but, he says, because “…it is my sincere opinion film only reflects the violence of society.” Verhoeven is what film buffs want most in a filmmaker, someone who is complicated, an enigma who brings his complexities to the screen.