Widely considered as the godfathers of the Dutch commercial cinema renaissance of the ’60s and ’70s, Indonesian Pim de la Parra and the late Wim Verstappen radically shifted gears after their first collaboration – DE MINDER GELUKKIGE TERUGKEER VAN JOSZEF KATUS NAAR HET LAND VAN REMBRANDT (The Less Fortunate Return of Joszef Katus to the Country of Rembrandt), a semi-vérité account of the political upheaval in Holland during the mid-sixties – garnered considerable critical praise yet failed to put bums on seats. Under their soon to become notorious Scorpio Film banner, with one always producing what the other directed, they launched into a series of skin-heavy thrillers and dramas that would make the Calvinist country’s film industry synonymous with gratuitous nudity and sex, an image it has never successfully got rid off since. First of these was the 1969 (how appropriate !) OBSESSIONS, a sort of hot under the collar Hitchcock variation co-written by then unknown Martin Scorsese and scored by Bernard Herrmann, sexy stills of which would pop up in men’s magazines all over Europe for many years to come.
MY NIGHTS WITH… showcases both their strengths and weaknesses, compounded by budgetary short cuts. Presumably best known to stateside audiences for playing Sandra Bullock’s widowed mom in Alejandro Agresti’s THE LAKE HOUSE or the frumpy middle-aged central character in Marleen Gorris’ Oscar winner ANTONIA’S LINE, it may be hard to believe that Willeke van Ammelrooy was the quintessential lust goddess of the Lowlands throughout the decade. Seeking refuge from a stormy professional and personal relationship with French skin flick “auteur” Jean-Marie Pallardy, she’s ironically cast as former model Susan who has chosen a hermit’s life on a dilapidated farm over the shallowness of jet set life. When Anton (theater thesp Hans van der Gragt), a hunky courier, comes along to pick her up for an assignment on the French Riviera, he’s so fascinated by Susan’s odd assortment of house guests that he decides to stay with them for a couple of days.
There’s Albert (Flemish actor Serge-Henri Valcke, who had an indelible bit part in Dick Maas’ THE LIFT), a fashion photographer suffering from agoraphobia now safely ensconced in Susan’s cupboard, occasionally joined after dark by Julie (Marieke van Leeuwen) who sleeps through most of the day. Far more disquieting still is the presence of murderous nymphets Sandra and Olga (Marja de Heer and Franulka Heyermans respectively) who throw themselves at everything in pants, cracking the skill of a passing American motorist (Euro skin flick veteran Jerry Brouer) out of sheer boredom. Lest he manages to keep them sexually satisfied, Anton might be next on their random hit list. Observing this twisted menagerie is the retarded Piet (silent but scene-stealing Nelly Frijda), a disheveled woman who lives outdoors and knows all their dirty little secrets.
by Dries Vermeulen (Nodriesrespect)