Sort of a cross between "Love Story" and an earthy Rembrandt painting, this movie stars Rutger Hauer as a gifted Dutch sculptor who has a stormy, erotic, and star-crossed romance with a ... See full summary »
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Rainer Werner Fassbinder
El Hedi ben Salem,
Sort of a cross between "Love Story" and an earthy Rembrandt painting, this movie stars Rutger Hauer as a gifted Dutch sculptor who has a stormy, erotic, and star-crossed romance with a beautiful young girl. The story follows the arc of their relationship and his interaction with her family. Told in flashback form, initially Hauer is seen as a libertine lothario collector, taking trophies from his sexual conquests and pasting them in a book. He sees a sculpture he made of his lost lover and goes into a flashback of his relationship with his wife. He meets the girl, falls in love with/marries her, and we meet her parents: a charming, well meaning, bumbling father, and his shrew of a wife, who's convinced Hauer's too much of a bohemian to make a good mate for her daughter. Eventually, the petty jealousies, the sexual hijinks, and the climactic vomit scene prove too much for the marriage, and sculptor and his lady fair separate. Flash forward several months, and Hauer finds the girl back... Written by
A relative of the earlier Lovestory (1970) - complete with sine qua non bittersweet denouement - Turkish Delight's dramatic device is a wrong-side-of-the-tracks match. Rutger Hauer's virile, semi-feral sculptor Erik falls for a similarly carefree Hippie in Monique van de Ven's Olga. Their unstoppable union has to negotiate the barely tacit disapproval of her bourgeois parents.
What's interesting here though is that Verhoeven takes great care to neither judge characters nor cast them as straightforward pro- or an-tagonists. The couple's raw youth is magnetic (there are a number of stunts patently performed without doubles) but their irreverence can occasionally be as awkward as it is entertaining. Similarly, the outwardly stuffy parents and their coterie have a (characteristically Dutch) tolerance for the brash, carefree couple. The heartrending close to the film comes not by cause of intractable opposition between the groups but as an example of their ultimate similarity despite it.
Verhoeven uses Speed director Jan de Bont as his DoP. Their collaboration is a feast of (meticulously framed) perpetual motion and zest, the very equal of Hauer's reeling id-boy. But it's not just a document of raucous youth getting it on. Verhoeven catches all the beauty and pathos of Dutch lovers caught in the post-60s cul-de-sac. 7/10
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