Synopsis by Mark Deming
Filmmaker Paul Verhoeven returned to the Netherlands after more than twenty years of success in Hollywood to direct this epic-scale war drama based on a true story. Rachel Steinn (Carice van Houten) is a beautiful Jewish woman living in German-occupied Holland during late 1944. Her family members - who have been falsely promised safe passage to Belgium (their names recorded in the 'black book' of the title) are instead robbed and slaughtered by the Germans on a premeditated basis; Rachel herself manages to escape by diving into the water and swimming away. She narrowly avoids capture, then joins the local resistance movement. With her hair dyed blonde, Rachel can easily pass for Aryan, and when the leader of the Dutch resistance movement learns his son has been captured by Axis forces, Rachel is asked to use her feminine charms to persuade a German commander to arrange for the boy's release. Rachel soon finds herself caught up in a dangerous double life as she becomes a sexual plaything for the Nazis while attempting to bring down their evil empire as a spy. Zwartboek was written by Verhoeven and Gerard Soeteman, who collaborated on the 1977 international success Soldier of Orange. Zwartboek received its world premier at the 2006 Venice Film Festival.
betrayal, false-accusation, Nazism, occupation [military], resistance
High Production Values