Paul Verhoeven is mostly associated with RoboCop in popular culture but he had directed many gems before that and has continued to do so since then. After his 2016 thriller Elle, Verhoeven has returned to the world of cinema with a brand new directorial effort which has been described as a “potent” biographical drama.
Titled Benedetta, the film stars Virginie Efira as a nun in the 17th century who joins an Italian convent only to fall in love with another member of the convent. After its premier at the Cannes Film Festival last year, Benedetta received a lot of glowing reviews for its subject matter as well as the Verhoeven’s sublime execution.
Efira plays the role of a real historical figure named Benedetta Carlini, a lesbian nun who was considered by many to be a mystic. However, her own lover later confessed to the religious authorities of the time that Carlini was possessed by a demon when she engaged in sexual acts with her which led them to imprison her.
While talking about the production process in an interview, Verhoeven claimed that it was a pleasant experience: “Everybody had fun, even the actresses. Everyone liked to work on it, everybody came to the set with pleasure, and there were no problems, everybody was stepping forward to make it better.”
“We are all afraid,” the director added, commenting on the future of streaming and the viability of cinema. “But you see the television screens people have these days. Why would people go to the cinema? Screens are already nearly cinema. I hope that the social aspect of being together, that the theatres survive.”
Watch the new trailer for Benedetta below.