Black Book brings Paul Verhoeven back to his native Holland, back, that is, from his Robocop and his Basic Instinct and his Showgirls and his Starship Troopers, back to the subject of Soldier of Orange, the Second World War, the Nazi occupation, the Dutch resistance. A beautiful Jewish chanteuse, dislodged from her hiding place by a random bomb and deprived of her family by a purposeful machine gun, joins the underground and infiltrates Nazi headquarters as a dyed blonde. There are touches of the old Verhoeven we know and loathe: the (discreetly shot) dyeing of the hair down below to match the hair on top, the obligatory vomit scene, the (indiscreetly shot) shower of shit. For the most part, though, this is an orthodox, impersonal, handsome, well-groomed, well-behaved war epic, filled with familiar types (the evil Nazi, the good Nazi, the craven collaborator, the valiant resistance leader, and of course the alluring Mata Hari), far-fetched, hoked-up, "inspired by true events." Carice van Houten, the new face who plays the beautiful Jew, is indisputably beautiful.
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Happenings, in chronological order:
Film School Confidential 2007, "a showcase of San Diego student films," and a nonprofit fundraising event, put together and hosted by KPBS film critic Beth Accomando, April 15, 6 p.m., at the Museum of Photographic Arts. Part of the proceeds go to the Greg Muskewitz Scholarship Fund, named for the late local film critic, and friend, who died of cancer almost two years ago to the day. For more information (what? no website?), call 858-442-5564.
FilmOut, the yearly Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender film festival, forty-some films' worth, April 19 through 22 at the Ken Cinema. For further details, visit www. filmoutsandiego.com.
4th Annual San Diego International Children's Film Festival, "more than ninety films from around the world made for children," spread out over April 22, April 29, and May 5, at the Museum of Photographic Arts. Details: www.sdchildrensfilm.org.