IFC Films has released a new teaser trailer for Benedetta, Paul Verhoeven’s latest feature. Telling the true story of a love affair between nuns in an Italian convent during the 17th century, the title first premiered in July at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival where it was up for the Palme d’Or. The movie is now set for a wider release on Dec. 3, and you can check out the new teaser below.
The official synopsis for Benedetta 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.”
Paul Verhoeven directs Benedetta using a screenplay co-written with David Birke. Sa&ïd Ben Sa&ïd, Michel Merkt, and Jerome Seydoux produced. The movie stars Virginie Efira, Charlotte Rampling, Lambert Wilson, Daphne Patakia, Olivier Rabourdin, and Herve Pierre.
Ahead of its premiere, Verhoeven presumed Benedetta would be met with some controversy. This did not serve as a deterrent for him to make the movie, as he’s grown well accustomed to controversy based on some of his previous releases. Even so, it did make the production a little more “difficult,” and he wasn’t quite sure how the finished product was going to be received.
“You go into a situation with a movie knowing for some people it’s going to be difficult,” Verhoeven told Indie Wire. “I realized people could feel provoked by it, yeah, sure, I knew, but you don’t know how much. I knew with Showgirls, Basic Instinct, and Spetters, there would be controversy. You made the movie. But I knew what people thought, the movie was there, I didn’t have to wait one and half years to wait for what people were thinking. It was difficult.”
Fortunately, the shoot turned out to be a blast for everyone involved, as Paul Verhoeven added: “Everybody had fun, even the actresses. Everyone liked to work on it, everybody came to the set with pleasure, and there were no problems, everybody was stepping forward to make it better. The fun was not laughing, it was everyone felt so motivated to come to the director or assistant director-‘we have another solution here’ – everything is really open and democratic. Everyone came in with ideas. I had fun. It was not laughing, it was the pleasure of doing something like that. Sometimes the story was funny, yeah.”
Along with the aforementioned titles, Paul Verhoeven is also known for helming popular movies like RoboCop, Total Recall, Starship Troopers, and Hollow Man. His last movie, Elle with Isabelle Huppert, was released back in 2016 to great acclaim, earning Huppert an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. As for what’s next, the filmmaker has said he’s working on a TV series remake of a book by Guy de Maupassant called Bel Ami, about a man who gets higher and higher in the TV world by having affairs with women who are above him.
Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta is scheduled to open in theaters on Dec. 3, 2021.