Cannes Film Festival 2021 Day 4: Benedetta (2021)

Cannes Film Festival 2021 Day 4: Benedetta by Paul Verhoeven in Competition.

What the Critics Say...

by Alexa Dalby


CAUTION: Here be spoilers


“Ever the bad boy even into his 80s, director Paul Verhoeven stirs the pot and turns the heat up to the boiling point in Benedetta, a medieval brew of religious fervor, illicit lesbian sex in a convent, Catholic church politics and — to incidentally add a contemporaneous touch — a plague sweeping the land… the film, like all the director’s work, is wild, intelligent, pulsating, provocative and vibrantly alive…the alarming plague footage in the final act will play with far greater resonance to viewers all over the world in the wake of the Covid virus. Inadvertently and unfortunately for us all, Benedetta has very much become a film of this moment”

“Paul Verhoeven has given us a bizarre nunsploitation drama, doing for pious young women in wimples what he did for exotic dancers in his cult classic Showgirls…Verhoeven just presents us with the raunchiness, using the religiosity as set dressing. There’s an unbearably hammy musical score throughout, and the keynote is period-drama good taste.” – Guardian

“This is an erotic film, full stop, and though “Benedetta” is smarter in various respects than such sisters-in-exploitation as “Put Your Devil Into My Hell” and “The Killer Nun,” in others, it’s much, much dumber…Everything is either obvious, vulgar or some smarmy combination of the two in this racy follow-up to Verhoeven’s rape-themed 2016 thriller “Elle…Simply put, “Benedetta” intends to offend, and Verhoeven sets about that mission from the outset.” – Variety

La Fracture (The Divide)

Raf (Valéria Bruni Tedeschi) and Julie (Marina Foïs), a couple on the verge of breaking up, find themselves in an Emergency Department close to asphyxiation on the evening of a major ‘yellow vests’ protest in Paris. Their encounter with Yann (Pio Marmaï), an injured and angry demonstrator, will shatter their certainties and prejudices. Outside, the tension escalates and soon, the hospital has to close its doors and the staff is overwhelmed. The night will be long…

“This is a well-intentioned film with some forthright performances, although there’s a fair bit of actorly shouting going on and the smiley spaciness of Bruni-Tedeschi can sometimes feel a bit affected.” – Guardian

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