Turkish Delight: Rutger Hauer and Paul Verhoeven’s Lovely Exposition

Turkish Delight is the second film directed by the accomplished Paul Verhoeven. Released in 1973 it stars a young Rutger Hauer, a personal favorite, and the gorgeous Monique van de Ven. The couple’s entire relationship unfolds before the viewer,set in the Netherlands. Rutger plays a real sex fiend whom finally finds his raison d^etre. Much like The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and maybe even The Notebook?(never seen it), It’s about that young romance you live for despite life’s inhibitions, warnings, and short nature. I once saw a Sydney Pollock interview where he claimed the “happy couple” moments were the hardest to film vs. before and after the relationship(referring to The Way We Were). This film walks a fine line of the before, after, and during.

The interesting symbols I noticed, whenever Rutger rides his bike anywhere he literally hops off it and lets it crash into something, every time! Similar to my gab about The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Both characters are in constant rushes to depart their vehicles early. Here Rutger’s character is young and very “fast” and “over the top”. With women and his interactions, he seems to throw caution to the wind and act rather than dwell in the consequences. To this extent he finds the love of his life, however nothing holds forever. The other symbol I noticed was maggots. He is criticized at work for sculpting maggots into a biblical scene, to be more accurate. Second he grabs his wife flowers  and it is shown they were holding maggots. They fall on her chest. Finally maggots can be scene at his disgusting apartment. Maybe the maggots that exist on real life and in his mind in his own sense of lingering death. Death is all around no need to fake it. Maggots mostly eat dead things. Draw your own conclusions.

In short it was a really great film, two young attractive people in love is a beautiful thing. But life is short, and things fall apart. It’s what they do, it’s the second law of thermodynamics. Watch if while you can, and know it while you have it. I really liked films like this when I was aged somewhere from 12 to 19. I never really had a close relationship with a girl prior to my early 20s, I was totally a lonely “late-bloomer”. I don’t know if the relationship aspects of films gave me hope or showed me the beauty of life, but let’s just say some set the bar high. It was probably escapism on my part. But I digress. Check out this film.

Gary

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