The movie

Benedetta

a 17th-century Italian nun who professed a direct connection to Jesus and the Virgin Mary, was prosecuted for being a lesbian, and manipulated her way into obtaining sainthood.

Length: 131 min
Country: United States
Language spoken: French
Language subtitles: Dutch
Cast: Virginie Efira, Charlotte Rampling, Lambert Wilson
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Release date: 2019

Description

That Dutch legend Paul Verhoeven is a provocateur of the highest order is not exactly news, but he really pushes the envelope with this overtly sexual depiction of the life of Benedetta Carlini (Virginie Efira), a 17th-century Italian nun who professed a direct connection to Jesus and the Virgin Mary (her visions rendered here in daft CGI effects), was prosecuted for being a lesbian, and manipulated her way into obtaining sainthood. When the abused Bartolomea (Daphné Patakia) is taken in by the mercantile abbess (Charlotte Rampling), the shrewd Benedetta and the newcomer are soon engaged in a torrid affair. Meanwhile, the bubonic plague creeps closer and closer to their cloistered lives while the powers that be (in the form of Lambert Wilson) are ready to clamp down on Benedetta’s transgressions…

‘“Benedetta” is full of surprising tones shrewdly introduced by Verhoeven, who keeps us leaning forward to suss out just what his film is trying to be and to say. Cloister drama gives way to steamy soft-core romance gives way to camp comedy gives way to apocalyptic horror… I think the film is at its most salient when it is depicting, with terror and awe, the doomsday scramble: petty humans brandishing their faith and their imagined might as protection against the creeping end of things…”—Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair

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