Elle and the return of Paul Verhoeven


It’s been a while, but the trailer for Paul Verhoeven’s first new film in ten years, Elle, looks like the rascally Dutch Master might be back with some rekindled fire in his belly.

The plot for Elle sounds comfortably, or uncomfortably, in Verhoeven’s shifting wheelhouse, as Huppert plays a businesswoman raped in her home by an unknown assailant, who then takes it upon herself to stalk him back. The film is based on Philippe Djian’s 2012 novel, Oh… and sees Verhoeven shooting for the first time in the French language.

Starring the always interesting Isabelle Huppert, Elle suggests a return to the kind of psycho-sexual fare offered by Verhoeven’s earlier films, such as Spetters, The Fourth Man or even Basic Instinct (infamous for both the tease of Sharon Stone flashing her crotch for avid freeze-framers and for allowing Michael Douglas to wear a Dad-sweater to a nightclub).

If we’re very lucky, this will see Verhoeven offending everyone when it is screened in competition for the Palme D’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, and with both this and Nicolas Winding Refn’s The Neon Demon showing, it promises to be an interesting time for festival attendees.

Sony Pictures Classics have picked up distribution rights in the U.S. and elsewhere, so hopefully we can all get down and dirty with Verhoeven again soon.


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