Benedetta. 2021. France/Netherlands. Directed by Paul Verhoeven. Screenplay by Verhoeven, David Birke. With Virginie Efira, Charlotte Rampling, Daphne Patakia. In French; English subtitles. 127 min.
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Now 83, Paul Verhoeven, the boundary-pushing director of Basic Instinct (1992) and Showgirls (1995), remains untamed by age, delivering a raucous hyperdrama of lust, scandal, and profanity set almost entirely in an otherwise drab, monotonous convent. Based on the story of a 17th-century nun in Tucscany, whose visions propelled her to institutional power, the film follows its namesake’s upward trajectory as she keeps a feverish lesbian affair under wraps. Dramatic excess and over-the-top mischief combine to make this work at once outrageous, provocative, amusing, and transgressive. Courtesy of IFC Films