Cannes you believe it? After skipping the prestigious festival last year (well, everything—including the festival—skipped the festival because of COVID last year), the new film from Paul Verhoeven is finally coming to audiences—and those well-versed in Shudder’s offerings may see some familiar imagery. Verhoeven’s newest since 2016’s Elle, Benedetta’s lesbian nuns and tense 15th century setting might be giving genre fans The Devils vibes.
And that would be awesome. There’s no real hint of a “possession,” though the trailer’s church leaders do give knowing, cynical glances when discussions of miracles arise, but the tone still feels more like a psychological thriller than a romance. Perhaps that comes with the territory as Benedetta starts seducing the locals after joining a Tuscany convent mid-plague. Oh, and things are as horny as you might expect.
Take a look:
Starring Virginie Efira, Charlotte Rampling, Daphné Patakia and Lambert Wilson, Benedetta’s romantic/religious intensity comes based on Judith C. Brown’s book Immodest Acts—itself based on real events. It’s hard to overstate Verhoeven’s love of pushing boundaries and this latest film looks like it’ll keep his controversial streak alive—all while generating more steam than an old riverboat.
Benedetta hits French theaters on July 9 and will make its premiere at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, though no U.S. release plans have yet been made.