‘Benedetta’ Trailer: Paul Verhoeven Returns After ‘Elle’ with Erotic Lesbian Nun Romance

Ready or not, here comes the return of Paul Verhoeven. French distributor Pathé has released the official trailer for the director’s long-awaited erotic lesbian nun romance “Benedetta,” which is confirmed to be making its world premiere in competition at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. The project was originally tapped for the 2020 festival, but the pandemic canceled the event. Anyone familiar with Verhoeven’s psychosexual dramas “Basic Instinct” and “Elle” probably has a good idea what to expect from his latest.

The official synopsis from Pathe reads: “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 takes in a young woman to her convent, and the two begin a passionate affair.

The film is Verhoeven’s first directorial effort since the 2016 release of “Elle.” That film also world premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. “Elle” stars Isabelle Huppert as a businesswoman who is raped in her home by a masked assailant and decides not to report it, opting instead for a more controversial form of vengeance. Huppert’s performance earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and won her prizes at the Golden Globes, the National Society of Film Critics Award, the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, the Gotham Independent Film Awards, and the Independent Spirit Awards.

“Benedetta” stars Virginie Efira, Charlotte Rampling, Daphné Patakia, and Lambert Wilson. The movie is based on a book by Judith C. Brown, which itself was based on a true story. Verhoeven had originally tapped his frequent collaborator Gerard Soeteman to adapt the book. Soeteman wrote the scripts for eight Verhoeven films, including “Turkish Delight” and “Black Book,” but Soeteman distanced himself from the project because of its intense focus on sexuality. If “Benedetta” is too much for one of Verhoeven’s longest collaborators, then it must be truly shocking.

“Benedetta” is scheduled for a French theatrical release on July 9. The film does not yet have a U.S. release date. Watch the official trailer for the movie in the video below.

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