Jan Wolkers’ most famous work, published in 1969, opens with its unnamed narrator taping pictures of his ex-wife to his bed for masturbatory purposes; its movie counterpart, released four years later, shows Rutger Hauer’s dick in the first scene. Naturally the book made it onto the Dutch school syllabus and the film became the most successful in Holland’s history, was nominated for an Oscar, and in 1999 received the Dutch award for Best Film of the Century; it even got its own postage stamp. This is how far ahead of us Europe is. Turkish Delight tells the story in hindsight of the already failed marriage between an anonymous sculptor (named Erik in the film) and Olga (Monique van de Ven), which starts with possibly the best meet cute in literary/cinema history: Olga picks up a hitchhiking Erik, they pull over to fuck, he gets his dick stuck in his zipper, they stop at a farm and free his wiener with some borrowed pliers only to then crash the car and wind up in hospital. Wedding bells ensue. It's so weird that it had to have happened, and indeed the book is largely autobiographical. The rest plays out in a series of flashbacks and flashforwards, the anecdotal history of a relationship from beginning to end that is one of the most graphic, funny and real there is. As a book it’s up there with Miller. As a film it’s a snapshot of Amsterdam in the swinging sixties/seventies that was good enough to not only launch the careers of Hauer (who went on to Blade Runner, Batman Begins and… Hobo With A Shotgun) and director Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop, Total Recall, Basic Instinct and… Showgirls) but even cinematographer Jan de Bont (eventually director of Speed, Twister and… Speed 2: Cruise Control).
A simple delight... Turkish Delight (lokum or rahat lokum), a gel confection of starch and sugar, flavored with rosewater and dusted with powdered cream of tartar; plus rice pudding with caramel and raisins.
26 July 2017.