The fourth day of competition at the Festival de Cannes saw the screening of Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta and Catherine Corsini’s The Divide.
Paul Verhoeven‘s new feature film Benedetta created a sensation on the Croisette with the sulphurous story of a nun “between a saint and a lesbian”, an adaptation of historian Judith C. Brown‘s book evoking the life of Benedetta Carlini, a nun at the convent of Pescia in Tuscany. Nine years after Three Worlds, Catherine Corsini returns to the Festival de Cannes with The Divide, taking the viewers immersed in the heart of the emergency department of a large Parisian hospital in the middle of a night of Yellow Vests protest.
A duo of actresses
Five years after a rather laborious Elle, although carried by Isabelle Huppert, the cult director of RoboCop (1987), Total Recall (1990), and Starship Troopers (1997) is back in Competition with Benedetta, already selected for the 2020 Cannes Festival, but presented at the 2021 edition because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Paul Verhoeven has directed a duo of actresses: the Belgian naturalized French actress Virginie Efira and the Belgian-Greek actress Daphne Patakia. Lambert Wilson as the nonce and Charlotte Rampling as the abbess Sister Felicita complete the cast.
Benedetta celebrated as a saint
The Dutch director’s erotico-religious film is an adaptation of the 1987 book “Sister Benedetta, between saint and lesbian” by historian Judith C. Brown, which tells the story of Benedetta Carlini, a 17th century Italian Catholic nun who was both a mystic and lesbian. The daughter of an Italian lord, Benedetta entered a convent in 1599 at the age of nine and was plagued by visions while battling the lures of the devil. Capable of many miracles, she had a great influence in her convent of the Theatines or in her town of Pescia. Finally, she was subjected to an ecclesiastical investigation that convinced her of imposture and revealed her love affair with another nun.
A new scandal?
In this troubling Benedetta, the filmmaker explores the relationship between Sister Benedetta (Virginie Efira) and the nun Bartolomea (Daphne Patakia), two nuns subjected to the flames of temptation. A communion of Catholic faith and Sapphic pleasures that will create a new scandal on the Croisette. During Benedetta’s trial, the clerk who recorded the minutes of the trial could no longer write properly because he was so shocked by the sexual details described by Bartoloméa. What about the spectators?
The violence of a divided society
The Divide (La Fracture) is a film immersed in the heart of the emergency department of a large Parisian hospital in the middle of a night of the Yellow Vests protest. A film under tension, which portrays – without caricaturing it – the violence of an enraged society and the violence of the repression of the Yellow Vests demonstrations.
After breaking her arm, Raf (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) finds herself in the emergency room of a saturated Parisian hospital. Together with Julie (Marina Foïs), her girl-friend, they are confronted with a reality of which they were not fully aware: that of the hospital staff in crisis, embodied by the character of Kim (the surprising Aissatou Diallo Sagna, an assistant nurse in life), and that of Yann (Pio Marmaï), an angry Yellow Vest, injured during a demonstration that turned into clashes.
The Festival is on YesICannes.com: yesicannes.com/category/festival-de-cannes
The Red Carpet of Benedetta in pictures
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