Few contemporary directors have inspired more debate than Paul Verhoeven, whose smartly entertaining films push the boundaries of sex, violence, and accepted good taste to daringly subversive ends. After a string of groundbreaking works in the Netherlands, Verhoeven eventually found his way to Hollywood, where he lent his complex, morally ambiguous worldview and facility for action spectacle to some of the most fascinating—and often controversial—studio films of the eighties and nineties. An ironist who frequently works in so-called “disreputable” genres—science fiction, erotic thriller, melodrama—he combines a formal mastery with a satirist’s sensibility, delivering visceral thrills alongside provocative critiques of capitalism, militarism, and masculinity. Occasioned by the U.S. release of his acclaimed new film, Elle, the Film Society revisits the work of one of the most fearless directors of our time.

Organized by Dennis Lim and Dan Sullivan.

Special thanks to EYE Film Institute Netherlands; Sony Pictures Classics; Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.