Cinematic provocateur Paul Verhoeven returns with a true passion project, an examination of the real-life Catholic mystic and lesbian nun Benedetta Carlini, who rose to become abbess of her convent in Pescia, Italy, in the early 17th century before being removed from power by the papacy. Benedetta (Virginie Efira, ELLE) experiences increasingly wild visions, communion with the divine and even stigmata, while her relationship with the troubled sister Bartolomea
(Daphne Patakia) spirals into reckless carnality. It's gleeful "nunsploitation," yes, but Verhoeven is most interested in exploring the lust for power, and the struggle for control waged between Benedetta and the rival abbess she displaces (Charlotte Rampling), before ultimately leading her entire convent against the authoritarian Florentine Nuncio (Lambert Wilson). Official Selection, 2021 Cannes Film Festival. DIR/SCR Paul Verhoeven; SCR David Birke, from the book "Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy" by Judith C. Brown; PROD Saïd Ben Saïd, Michel Merkt, Jérôme Seydoux. France/Belgium/Netherlands, 2021, color, 131 min. In French with English subtitles. NOT RATED
No AFI Member passes accepted.