Dutch director, producer and writer Wim Verstappen, whose controversial erotic picture “Blue Movie” broke film barriers in the Netherlands, died July 24 in Amsterdam at the age of 67 of cancer.
Verstappen directed some 15 films, scripted close to a dozen pics and produced three movies. He was also one of the founders of the Netherlands Film Festival and copyright collecting society VEVAM, as well as the Dutch Federation of Film Professionals.
Produced by Pim de la Parra, the sexually explicit “Blue Movie” made Dutch film history when, despite controversy, film censors gave it a thumbs up for screening in the cinema. The film brought in more than 2.3 million visitors, making it one of the top 100 most visited Dutch films of all time.
In an era when films intentionally produced to have commercial appeal were still somewhat suspect, Verstappen “believed that films should appeal to and attract the general public,” said Doreen Boonekamp, director of the Dutch Film Festival. He will be remembered as an ambassador for the Dutch film industry, she added, noting he had lobbied heavily in recent years to keep the Dutch tax incentive scheme which expires at the end of this year alive.
“Pastorale 1943,” a 1978 film about the Dutch resistance starring Rutger Hauer, is generally considered his best film, while the 1979 “Grijpstra and De Gier,” based on one of the novels of prolific Dutch detective writer Jan Willem van de Wetering and also starring Hauer, was also a big commercial success. He is also known for the 1983 pic about the black market “Black Rider.”
Born in 1937 in Gemert, in the province of Brabant, Verstappen in 1995 won a Golden Calf “Culture Prize” for lifetime achievement.
In recent years he was active in helping set up collecting societies across the globe and had important ties to US film organizations, including the Writers Guild of America.