Cannes Film Festival 2021 has been boasting a line up of some of the most anticipated films of the year this week, and while we are truly chomping at the bit to see them all (we're coming for you, The French Dispatch!), the horny, salacious lesbian nunsploitation thriller Benedetta has got our attention.
Infamously dark director Paul Verhoeven is back on the Cannes scene with the story of a lesbian affair between nuns in 17th century Italy, and if that doesn't sound like it belongs on PornHub, well, you need to do some investigating into the heterosexual male fantasy. Based on Judith C. Brown’s 1986 Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy, a nonfiction book that details a forbidden relationship between two nuns, Verhoeven has seemingly interpreted the novel in a rather bezerk way, and taken it to randy, violent, critically acclaimed new heights in his adaptation.
Starring Belgian actress Virginie Efira as Benedetta Carlini and Daphne Patakia as Bartolomea, the story follows a 1800s French nun who believes she is possessed by Jesus Christ, and falls in love with her fledgling of a caretaker (Bartolomea). A love affair ensues, laden with explicit sex scenes, a hot-for-Jesus conviction, a wooden virgin Mary figurine that is used as a sex toy, the freaky vocal changes of a possessed covert lesbian nun, and roils of orgasmic pain that torment her at night. What chaos!
"You don’t know why you are attracted to things or what in your brain makes you want to do a certain project." Verhoeven told Variety on his decision to adapt the film. "My friend and co-writer David Birke gave me a book by Judith C. Brown called “Immodest Acts.” It was about something really weird and unique and it was based on these notes that a scribe took at the time that are so precise about what exactly, sexually these two nuns did. The people in charge back then were all men and there was a lot of doubt that sexual relationships between women even existed. And then the nun was having visions with Jesus in them. It was a story that had to be told."
Earning itself a 5 minute standing ovation at its premiere at the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival last week, we will absolutely be strapping ourselves in for the watch when released into cinemas - the date which has not yet been confirmed for the rest of the world outside of France. Watch the trailer for Benedetta, below.