A unique voice in postwar Germany, Michael Verhoeven is one of Europe’s most acclaimed filmmakers. A writer-director, Verhoeven has produced an oeuvre of remarkable feature films and documentaries. Verhoeven’s films are clear-eyed and honest but also emotional and cinematic with hints of fantasy and the surreal.

While some denied and others chose to forget, Verhoeven risked popular opinion by daring to tell the truth in Germany about Germany. He was the first West German director to raise the issue of German resistance against the Nazis with his film The White Rose, and one of the first to grapple with the repression of unflattering truths deep within the German family as well as the town square with The Nasty Girl. In My Mother's Courage, Verhoeven tells the miraculous and true story of how one woman saved herself from deportation. His two most recent films, the meticulously researched documentaries The Unknown Soldier (Der unbekannte Soldatand) and Human Failure, explore the actions of ordinary Germans during the Nazi period.

Verhoeven was born in 1938 in Berlin, the son of actor and director Paul Verhoeven and the actress Doris Kiesow. In the 1950s, he worked as an actor until switching course to study medicine. For several years, Verhoeven practiced medicine, in Munich, Worcester, Massachusetts and Los Angeles. In 1966 he married actress Senta Berger and together they founded the film production company Sentana Film. The following year he directed his first feature film, Paarungen. By the early 1970s, Verhoeven turned to full time to writing, producing and directing film, television, and occasionally, theater.

Verhoeven received his first German Film Award in 1971 for O.K., an anti-Vietnam War film that caused a sensation at the Berlin Film Festival. Sunday Children (Sonntagskinder) screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1980. His groundbreaking 1982 feature film The White Rose won two top German Film Awards. The Nasty Girl nominated for the Academy Award and for the Golden Globe, won the Silver Bear for Best Director in Berlin in 1990 and the BAFTA Award 1992 for Best Foreign Language Film. His adaptation of George Tabori’s play My Mother's Courage won numerous prizes including the Bavarian Film Award for Best Picture. His TV-movie Uncover of a Marriage (Enthüllung einer Ehe) won two Fipa Awards at the Biarritz-Festival in 2001.

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The National Center For Jewish Film
Brandeis University, Lown 102, MS053, Waltham MA 02454
P: (781) 899 7044, F: (781) 736 2070


Michael Verhoeven

The White Rose

My Mother's Courage

The Nasty Girl

The Legend of Mrs. Goldman and the Almighty God

Human Failure




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