Cannes, France – Forgive them, father, because they have sinned. Repeatedly! creatively! And wait until you hear what they did to that Virgin Mary statue.
The bad girls I’m talking about are Benedetta and Bartolomea, two 17th century lesbian nuns. New play “Benedetta,” Which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival on Friday. It’s a delicious, holy provocation from “Basic Instinct,” director of “Showgirls” and “Paul Verhoeven.”Elle,” And at 82, Verhoeven proves himself to be as frisky as ever.
Based on the Judith C. Brown nonfiction book “Immoral Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy,” the film follows Benedetta (Virginia Ephira), a young nun so convinced she is Christ’s bride that she even dreams about seducing a hunky, bare-breasted Jesus. And why doesn’t she Will Benedetta? Benedetta is a blonde bombshell who looks less like a 17th-century holy nun and more like Charlie’s Angel in disguise, and when the handsome farmer Bartolomea (Daphne Patacia) arrives at the convent, she’s also eyeing Benedetta starts.
The nun-on-nun action moves faster than you’d expect, given that the convent is dominated by a strict mother superior (Charlotte Rampling) and Benedetta is at risk of having visions that mingle with the expression of stigma. ends. But as her religious ecstasy becomes more erotic, Benedetta eventually finds a steamier, more mundane way to pursue that higher. “Jesus gave me a new heart,” she tells Bartolomea, exposing one breast. “Feel it.” (See, in the 17th century they did foreplay in a very different way.)
Once their sexual relationship heats up, these nuns find it easy to give up their habits but hard to break. Eventually, a statue of the Virgin Mary is turned into a sex toy and after Benedetta and Bartolomeia, er, apply themselves to it, audiences at a Cannes press screening applaud the film’s blasphemous nerve. Verhoeven has always had a gift for divineizing the ridiculous, and now the reverse is true as well.
Nevertheless, at the “Benedetta” news conference, Verhoeven insisted that the scene was not blasphemous at all.
In excerpts from Brown’s book, he said, “I really don’t understand how you can be blasphemous about something that happened in 1625.” “You can’t change history, you can’t change things that happened, and I based it on things that happened.”
Perhaps, but Verhoeven’s version still shrugs off the truth a bit, as Benedetta and Bartolomea are always sporting eye makeup, foundation, and lipstick. Though their faces are never naked, their bodies often are, and would it surprise you to learn that when these burnt out nuns take off their clothes, they’re toned and well-groomed like a Playboy centerfold? In the convent, God may be watching, but Verhoeven’s gaze tramples everyone.
If any audience dinged “Benedetta” for serving religious commentary with cheesecake, Verhoeven remained unaffected. “In general, when people have sex, they take off their clothes,” Verhoeven said in fact. “I’m shocked, basically, how we don’t want to see the reality of life.”
His actresses did not object to their sex scenes. “Everything was so happy when we took our clothes off,” Efira said, while Patakia told news media that when Verhoeven is directing, “You forget you’re naked.”
Still, he never saw how much he would need to push the envelope.
“I remember reading the script to myself and thinking, ‘There’s not a single normal scene,'” Patakia said. “There’s always something unsettling.” He continued, “So, I immediately said yes.”