Benedetta, an erotic lesbian nun drama by Paul Verhoeven, the 82-year-old director of Hollywood blockbuster movies like Basic Instinct and Showgirls, was premiered at the 74th edition of the Cannes Film Festival on Friday night to great fanfare. Though the movie, which revolves around a steamy relationship between two lesbian nuns in a convent, was described as a cinematic masterpiece by many viewers, it did not go down well with others.
As per reports, a particular scene in the movie where a wooden effigy of the Virgin Mary is being used as a sex toy especially, leading some to accuse the maker of blasphemy.
The maker, in turn, lambasted his critiques. “I do not understand really how you can be blasphemous about something that happened… You cannot basically change history after the fact. You can talk about that was wrong or not, but you cannot change history. I think the word blasphemy for me in this case is stupid,” he said.
The movie is said to be an adaption of an acclaimed non-fiction book by Judith C. Brown, “Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy.” In the movie, the Belgian actor Virginie Efira stars as Benedetta Carlini, a 17th-century French nun who communicates directly with Jesus and who falls in love with a farm girl saved by the convent, staring Daphné Patakia.
The movie revolves around the lesbian nun couple’s explicit love affair with plenty racy sex scenes, including one where a character uses a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary as a dildo.
When asked by one reporter how Verhoeven managed to pull off the scene involving using an effigy of Virgin Mary as a sex toy, the maker remarked: “Well, you saw the movie.” The director has never shied away from in-your-face sexual content, from “Basic Instinct” to “Elle.”
When questioned about the unabashed nudity shown in the movie, Verhoeven added, “Don’t forget, in general, people, when they have sex, they take their clothes off. So I’m stunned basically by the fact that we don’t want to look at the reality of life. Why this puritanism has been introduced — it is in my opinion wrong.”