Paul Verhoeven at The ICA



TO CELEBRATE the release of Black Book, London’s ICA is to host a Paul Verhoeven retrospective looking back at some of the early work of the Dutch master.

A special preview of war-time thriller Black Book kicks things off on Sunday, January 14 and will be followed by a fortnight of features that make up the first phase of the Dutch director’s remarkable, controversial career.

The films screening include: Business is Business, Katie Tippell, Turkish Deligh, Spetters, The Fourth Man and Soldier of Orange.

Verhoeven’s feature debut, Business Is Business is an unsentimental human tale focusing on experienced prostitute Blonde Greet and the only two meaningful relationships in her life – one with a married man who treats her with respect and compassion and the other with a female co-worker who’s being abused by her boyfriend.

The film shows that from the beginning his career, Verhoeven has always been drawn to characters who aren’t conventionally likeable or understandable.

Rags-to-riches drama Katie Tippell is inspired by a true story about a young woman born into poverty and forced to turn to prostitution. Through the education Tippell (Monique Ven de Ven) gains on the side, she gets access to a higher society and an escape route from her tormented background that she ruthlessly pursues.

Verhoeven’s first collaboration with renowned actor Rutger Hauer went on to become the most successful Dutch film in history.

Turkish Delight is a sexually frank and morally carefree drama about the tempestuous relationship between Hauer’s bohemian sculptor and a spoilt young woman (played by Monique Van de Ven) and its release confirmed Verhoeven to be a director with an appetite for the perverse.

Spetters is one of Verhoeven’s more controversial and challenging films. It focuses on three motor cross racers and a woman who comes between them, forcing them to reassess their youthful dreams. It’s a tough, naturalistic tale and marks another collaboration with Rutger Hauer, who plays one the racers.

The Fourth Man, meanwhile, is a rich Gothic thriller about a writer who begins a relationship with a woman who murders her lovers.

Winning several awards upon its release in the early 80s, the film is now considered a sexy, erotic thriller and a great pre-cursor to Verhoeven’s later and far more well-known Basic Instinct.

Finally, Soldier Of Orange established Verhoeven’s international reputation. An epic war film that follows a group of privileged school friends divided when Holland is faced with Nazi occupation, the film flies back and forth between plots, locations and characters.

It is an ideal companion-piece to Verhoeven’s latest film Black Book.

Screening dates and times for each film can be found at

Preview by Jack Foley