Paul Verhoeven's Beautifully Blasphemous Benedetta Hits On Demand Tomorrow

Paul Verhoeven's subversive lesbian nun drama "Benedetta" will be available on-demand from IFC Films tomorrow. If you didn't have a chance to see it in theaters, you can check it out from home. The news comes to us through a tweet from IFC.

If somehow you managed not to see the trailer for this, though I'm not sure how that's possible, you can check it out below. Maybe not at work though. Here is the synopsis for "Benedetta":

In the late 15th century, with plague ravaging the land, Benedetta Carlini joins the convent in Pescia, Tuscany, as a novice. Capable from an early age of performing miracles, Benedetta's impact on life in the community is immediate and momentous.

"Benedetta" was originally supposed to premiere at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, but the event was canceled (like everything else) because of the pandemic. It premiered at the 2021 festival instead. If you missed it, don't be surprised. It ran in French cinemas but was only released in the United States on December 3, 2021. With the new variant taking over, this is probably a better option right now, anyway. 

Saint, Sinner, or Powerful Woman?

"Benedetta" stars Virginie Efira (who co-starred in Verhoeven's previous film "Elle"), Charlotte Rampling, Daphné Patakia, and Lambert Wilson, and is based on a book by Judith C. Brown. The 1986 non-fiction book is entitled "Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy," which is based on a real-life story of 15th-century nun Benedetta who has religious and erotic visions and has a love affair with one of her fellow nuns. "Benedetta" is also the story of how women who gained power within the church in the Middle Ages (and many other ages throughout history) were stripped of their power as soon as possible. 

According to the book's synopsis, the real Benedetta Carlini had been in the convent since the age of nine and started having visions at 23. She became an abbess, but the church said she faked her stigmata and visions. Apparently, the story is well-documented and, "is also the earliest documentation of lesbianism in modern Western history."

Putting this all through the lens of Paul Verhoeven is certain to make it interesting and controversial. The response to "Benedetta" on most of the review aggregate sites has been very positive. Let us know what you thought of the film if you saw it!