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Benedetta's First Trailer Features Collision of Lesbians, Eroticism, and Religion 

Benedetta's First Trailer Features Collision of Lesbians, Eroticism, and Religion 


Paul Verhoeven's latest film, about a 15th-century nun who works miracles in and out of the boudoir, is set to premiere at Cannes. 

There's been plenty of focus on the spate of women-loving-women period pieces directed by men lately, so much so that Saturday Night Live took a stab at skewering them in a sketch a few weeks back. If the sex scene in the Francis Lee-helmed Ammonite was considered to be rooted too deeply in the "male gaze," then Paul Verhoeven's Benedetta, about a nun in the 15th century who performs miracles (including, judging from the trailer, in the boudoir with another woman) is about to shake things up when it premieres at Cannes. Now the trailer has dropped.

Dutch director Verhoeven is behind erotic and camp classics including Basic Instinct,Showgirls, and Elle (for which Isabelle Huppert was Oscar-nominated). Verhoeven's past attempts at depicting women together have raised eyebrows for many reasons. If the trailer for Benedetta is any indication, it's on a completely different level from Basic Instinct and Showgirls.

The film's official synopsis 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 is based on Judith C. Brown's 1986 nonfiction book Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy (Studies in the History of Sexuality). Itstars Charlotte Rampling as the convent's Abbess Felicita, while Virginie Efira plays the titular role, and Daphne Patakia portrays Bartolomea, the object of Benedetta's affection.

The film was slated for the 2020 Cannes Film Festival but was pushed. Benedetta will premiere at this year's festival, which runs July 6-17.

Watch the trailer below.

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Tracy E. Gilchrist