Tuesday, 27 September 2016

LFF 2016 PREVIEW: ELLE


'Verhoeven is now the same age as Bunuel when he directed That Obscure Object of Desire. May his French period last even longer'
Fernando F. Croce, MUBI's Notebook

'Paul Verhoeven at the height of his artistic powers'
Kenji Fujishima, Movie Mezzanine

'A tour de force turn from Isabelle Huppert'
Lisa Nesselson, Screen Daily

Now how did this happen? Having convinced us all that the Paul Verhoeven we all used to love (or hate) was nowhere to be found, with 2006's Black Book his only credit since 2000's Hollow Man save 2012's low-budget curio Tricked, which itself only arrived in US theatres this February, Paul Verhoeven teams up with David Birke, the writer of such classics as Freeway Killer and 13 Sins for Elle, one of the unexpected critical hits of 2016. Isabelle Huppert stars as a woman who uses her experience of being raped to turn her life around in strange, provocative ways. Huppert received raves when the film opened in Cannes, and it shot to the top of many lists as the frontrunner for the Palme d'Or; its exclusion from the jury awards was just one of several highly controversial decisions reached by George Miller's panel that day. The reception was so strong that Sony Pictures Classics picked the film up in order to give it an awards season run in the US, where it opens on the 11th of November. Its UK theatrical release arrives on the 24th of February, but not after it has screened at the London Film Festival next month, and you can bet it's on my programme!