VenueAlice Tully Hall
Based on true events, Benedetta unearths the story of Benedetta Carlini, a 17th-century nun in Tuscany who believed she saw visions of Christ and engaged in a sexual relationship with a fellow sister at her abbey. Because this is a film by genre auteur par excellence Paul Verhoeven (whose movies include Robocop, Basic Instinct, and NYFF54 selection Elle), the result is anything but a reverent treatment of an odd footnote in Catholic European history. Forgoing the hallmarks of prestige cinema, this delirious, erotic, and violent melodrama is told with a boundless spirit for scandal, and unabashedly courts blasphemy as it unfolds its tale of religious hypocrisy. Wildly entertaining, and featuring standout performances from Virginie Efira as the title character and Charlotte Rampling as the stoic, conflicted Mother Abbess, Benedetta maintains both a feverish pitch and a fascinating ambiguity in its depiction of the miraculous and the mundane, the sacred and the profane. An IFC Films release.