‘Benedetta’ Trailer: Paul Verhoeven’s Erotic Lesbian Nun Romance Is One Wild Ride

Verhoeven's latest competed for the Palme d'Or at Cannes.

Ready or not, here comes the return of Paul Verhoeven. IFC Films has released the first U.S. trailer for the director’s long-awaited erotic lesbian nun romance “Benedetta,” which made its world premiere in competition at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. The project was originally tapped for the 2020 festival, but the pandemic canceled the event. Anyone familiar with Verhoeven’s psychosexual dramas “Basic Instinct” and “Elle” probably has a good idea what to expect from his latest.

The official synopsis from IFC Films reads: “A 17th-century nun in Italy suffers from disturbing religious and erotic visions. She is assisted by a companion, and the relationship between the two women develops into a romantic love affair. Based on Judith C. Brown’s ‘Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy.'”

The film is Verhoeven’s first directorial effort since the 2016 release of “Elle.” That film also world premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Leading star Isabelle Huppert earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress and won her prizes at the Golden Globes, the National Society of Film Critics Award, the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards, the Gotham Independent Film Awards, and the Independent Spirit Awards.

“Benedetta” stars Virginie Efira, Charlotte Rampling, Daphné Patakia, and Lambert Wilson. Verhoeven had originally tapped his frequent collaborator Gerard Soeteman to adapt Brown’s book. Soeteman wrote the scripts for eight Verhoeven films, including “Turkish Delight” and “Black Book,” but Soeteman distanced himself from the project because of its intense focus on sexuality. If “Benedetta” is too much for one of Verhoeven’s longest collaborators, then it must be truly shocking.

“Benedetta” opens in theaters and VOD platforms on December 3. Watch the U.S. trailer below.

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