Theo van Gogh murdered by Muslim fanatic: Filmmaker had received death threats following broadcast of controversial short ‘Submission: Part I’
Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death on an Amsterdam street on Nov. 2. Following a shootout, the police arrested a 26-year-old Moroccan-Dutch man, who is supposed to have ties to radical Muslim groups.
The great-grandson of Theo van Gogh – and great-grandnephew of painter Vincent van Gogh – the filmmaker (born on July 23, 1957, in The Hague) was 47 years old.
‘Submission: Part I’ & treatment of women under Islam
In recent months, Theo van Gogh had received death threats as a consequence of his English-language short film Submission: Part I, a harsh critique of the treatment of women under Islam.
The 12-minute film was co-written by van Gogh and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali refugee and former Muslim who also happens to be a House of Representatives member of The Netherlands’ People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, whose political agenda consists of a mixed bag of right-wing nationalistic, libertarian, and socially progressive views.
Shown on Dutch television last August, Submission: Part I – which displays abused women with Koran verses written on their bodies – was reviled by The Netherlands’ Muslims, including some Muslim women’s groups.
Theo van Gogh movies: Animal cruelty & cannibalistic serial killer
Besides Submission: Part I, Theo van Gogh movies – arthouse fare featuring broken characters, and (in the view of his critics, gratuitously) disturbing images and themes – include the following:
- His feature film debut, the black-and-white “shocker” Luger (1982), starring Thom Hoffman (also in his film debut) as the titular character, a fascistic psychopath who kidnaps a millionaire’s mentally handicapped daughter (Laurien Hildering). Problems arise when the woman’s father refuses to come up with the ransom. In one scene, two kittens are placed inside a washing machine; in another, a gun is stuck up a woman’s vagina.
- Another “shocker,” Charley (1986), features a silent serial killer (Marie Kooyman) whose technique involves seducing men, killing them, and then having them for dinner. The justification for her acts seem to lie on her incestuous past.
- The psychological drama Blind Date (1996), in which a grieving couple (Renée Fokker and Peer Mascini) – their daughter has died – decide to go on “blind dates” with one another. Each encounter (or process of rediscovery) is supposed to have a different “theme.”
- Baby Blue (2001), featuring quite a bit of English dialogue and described by the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad as an “elegant psychological thriller.” The life of a Dutch couple (Roeland Fernhout and Nienke Römer) takes a nightmarish turn after the husband becomes sexually involved with his British neighbor (Susan Vidler).
- The political thriller 06/05 (2005), loosely inspired by the events that led to the assassination of populist, far-right Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn in May 2002. In 06/05, a photojournalist (Thijs Römer) uncovers an intricate conspiracy to have Fortuyn killed off. In real life, van Gogh had been a friend and supporter of the politician.
According to the IMDb, Theo van Gogh’s last movie was the episodic, two-character effort Ter ziele [possibly translated as “dead” or “defunct”], shot in summer 2004, and featuring Thijs Römer and Steve Hooi as a couple of nurses with numerous hang-ups.
Like 06/05, Ter ziele is scheduled to be released in 2005.
December 2004 update: At the wake of Theo van Gogh, about 20,000 people gathered on downtown Amsterdam’s Dam Square to remember his death.
Theo van Gogh quote about Baby Blue via De Filmkrant.
Nienke Römer and Roeland Fernhout Baby Blue image: Shooting Star Filmcompany / Buena Vista, via De Filmkrant.
“Theo van Gogh Murdered by Muslim Radical: Director of Sensationalistic Movies Had Received Death Threats” last updated in May 2019.