Sunday, June 26

Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Benedetta’ On VOD, The Naughty And Salacious Nun Drama By Paul Verhoevens

Now in VOD, Benedetta es de Paul Verhoeven sacrilegious naughty-nun BOATS (based on a true story) of a real life sister who was touched by God in a non-literal sense, and also touched one of her Vestal companions in a much more literal sense. (Hey, at least the latter was consensual.) Benedetta Carlini was a mystic who had visions of Christ and suffered stigmata wounds, and she was also a lesbian, a combination of destiny that was, shall we say, less than ideal for an existing person. in the 17th century. You probably know that Verhoeven has quite a lewd streak; look: Choristers, Basic instinct, Meat + Blood and his most vital work in decades, 2016 She. The cursory research on Benedetta throws up words like “zafismo” and “frottage,” so such a topic could be fished in a barrel for a nut like Verhoeven.


The essence: Even as a child, Benedetta was divine AF. On her way to be left forever at the abbey, she manages to dissuade a group of scoundrels from robbing her family, and even inspires a nearby bird to get in the face of one of the thieves. things that not just anyone. can do, which is why she is OBVIOUSLY destined for Catholic greatness. Upon arriving at the convent in Pescia, Abbess Felicita (Charlotte Rampling) basically says, “Hey friend, no one travels for free,” and shakes 100 gold coins from Benedetta’s father, trading it for 50. She is not a particularly pious woman. Abbess, huh? Not as pious as Benedetta, that’s for sure. On her first night on the beautiful colorless and icy stone walls of the abbey, Benedetta kneels to pray before the statue of the Virgin Mary, and it falls on top of her, instinctively sucking on her wooden breast. Hello!

Eighteen years pass. Right in the middle of playing the Blessed Virgin in a crazy theatrical production put on by the convent, Benedetta has her first glimpse of Jesus as a bearded piece of meatloaf with a sword. One fateful day, the abbey welcomes Bartolomea (Daphne Patakia), a young woman who seeks to escape the sexual slavery of her father and brothers. Benedetta and Bartolomea share a tender moment and thoughtful conversation in the convent community toilet as Bartolomea makes deeply satisfying poop fart noises, and that scene really does exist in the movie, I swear, I wouldn’t make that shit up.

It turns out that Bartolomea is pretty good, and Benedetta doesn’t treat her kindly at first. But once Benedetta begins to have more intense visions, especially tasty is the one in which fanged and poisonous snakes slide down her dress and Jesus cuts them with his weapon, and stigmata sprout, she falls seriously ill, which led to the abbess Felicita to assign Bartolomea as hers. dirty nurse. They become friends: Benedetta teaches Bartolomea to read and write, and Bartolomea teaches Benedetta all about the great O. Benedetta’s apparent madness and suffering means that she is holier than all the other nuns, so Felicita is expelled and Benedetta is named abbess by the corrupt idiot. Males, including Lambert Wilson in full whimpering like a disgusting bishop, who are in charge of the Catholic church. The promo means that Benedetta now shares private rooms with her “assistant” Bartolomea, and I know this is set in Italy, but I’m going to say it anyway: there’s a place in France where nuns don’t wear pants and there’s a hole. on the wall where the bitter former abbess can see everything.

Photo: Benedetta movie website

Which movies will it remind you of ?: Benedetta is The last temptation of Christ crossed with Monty Python’s Life of Brian crossed with softcore porn.

Performance worth watching: Patakia gives Bartolomea a wide-eyed expression of divine mischief that reminds him of Bart Simpson when he can’t resist throwing a giant tomato at Principal Skinner’s ass. In their eyes, to blaspheme is to live deliciously.

Diálogo memorable: “I know you have brought a new wife to Jesus.” – Abbess Felicita makes a benign statement that she does not realize that she is loaded like a diaper with a bomb inside

Sex and skin: Tons of female nudity and some scenes from, uh, frottage sáfico.

Our Take: Jesus beheading the wicked, a comforter carved from a miniature statue of Mary, depicting Catholic leaders as venal hypocrites – Verhoeven spins the Great Wheel of Blasphemy in a transparent attempt to provoke and offend. Are we laughing or clutching our pearls yet? His intention is quite clear. However, his characterization of Benedetta appears to be intentionally vague: Are you hallucinating these visions? Is she a con artist who cuts her palms on ceramic shards? What is in your heart, exactly? It’s as frustrating as it is fascinating, and that seems to be part of Verhoeven’s calculations here.

Tonally, the director cuts through the camp-poker-faced drama, barely pausing to scoff at the scorn, like an outright mockery, perhaps. However, the sex scenes he presents do not provoke anything; Anyone familiar with Verhoeven’s work will not be surprised to learn that they are lewd and graphic, and one can’t help but wonder if he is indulging in the exploitative impulses or fighting for the feminist freedom of his characters. (I think it is trying to do both.) The last point arises with a development of the third act in which vengeful religious leaders bent on persecuting Benedetta bring a deadly plague to Pescia. His hypocrisy is as disgusting as his viral load, which is Verhoeven wielding his film like a satirical whip.

Our calling: STREAM IT. Ungodliness, your name is Benedetta. He’s not the best of Verhoeven, but he fits neatly into a canon of movies hell-bent on challenging their audiences, and as usual his work isn’t for everyone. Not recommending it just feels heretical.

John Serba is a freelance writer and film critic based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Read more of his work at

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