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Benedetta / Paul Verhoeven

  • Country and year: France / Belgium / Netherlands 2021
  • Rating: 16
  • Duration: 131 min
  • Director: Paul Verhoeven
  • Writer: David Birke, Paul Verhoeven
  • Producer(s): Saïd Ben Saïd, Michel Merkt, Jérôme Seydoux
  • Cinematographer: Jeanne Lapoirie
  • Music: Anne Dudley
  • Cast: Virginie Efira, Charlotte Rampling, Daphne Patakia, Lambert Wilson, Olivier Rabourdin
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Format: DCP

“Verhoeven once again pushes all the buttons that will titillate, provoke, excite, offend and — a quality he’s maintained throughout the decades — mix impudent and outrageous conceits with serious smarts”
Todd McCarthy / Deadline

“At the age 84, Verhoeven is not only in top form but equal to himself: controversial and gutsy”
Filipe Freitas / Always Good Movies

“Absolute Verhoeven. Erotic, violent, religiously sinful and absurdist. You have never seen a movie quite like this one. It’s a feminist take on Christ.”
Jordan Ruimy / World of Reel

“A substantial, sophisticated, yet briskly paced and always highly entertaining drama, which balances quiet scenes of shrewd backroom politicking with lurid scenes of wild religious madness”
Nicholas Barber / BBC.com

“Many of the best qualities of early and late [Paul] Verhoeven combine in Benedetta, a tale of sex, blood, and sacrilege in 17th-century Italy. Based on the American historian Judith C. Brown’s 1986 non-fiction book Immoral Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy (quite the title), its story focuses on the life of Benedetta Carlini, a nun in Precia who entered a sexual relationship with another woman in her convent. Paul Verhoeven originally adapted the book with his longtime collaborator Gerard Soeteman (Black Book, Turkish Delight), but the screenwriter stepped down when it became too ‘sexualized.’ —

There is nothing here to compete with that film’s shocking taboos and layered moral complexities––nor its eerily uncanny aesthetic. Verhoeven is having fun here — Shot by Jeanne Lapoirie, Benedetta’s blend of Hammer Horror and Game of Thrones imagery.  — Yet at 82 [Verhoeven] is still more fresh and audacious than most anything out there. Benedetta offers acts of torture and violence (mainly against women) to satiate the bloodlust, seedy clergymen who meet satisfying ends, horny and ludicrous sex acts, and so forth. Verhoeven’s body of work is an embodiment of our basest desires.” – Rory O’Connor / The Film Stage

 

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