Paul Verhoeven spent a long time in Hollywood making the likes of RoboCop, Starship Troopers, Basic Instinct and Hollow Man. However, more recently he’s returned to Europe and found more artistic success (or at least interest) with Black Book and Elle. Now he’s taking on lesbian nuns, which would normally sound worrying exploitative from the man Showgirls, but it seems he’s taking it seriously.
The film is based on Judith C. Brown’s non-fiction book, Immodest Acts: The Life Of A Lesbian Nun In Renaissance Italy. Here’s the book’s synopsis: ‘Born of well-to-do parents, Benedetta Carlini entered the convent at the age of nine. At twenty-three, she began to have visions of both a religious and erotic nature. Benedetta was elected abbess due largely to these visions, but later aroused suspicions by claiming to have had supernatural contacts with Christ. During the course of an investigation, church authorities not only found that she had faked her visions and stigmata, but uncovered evidence of a lesbian affair with another nun, Bartolomeo. The story of the relationship between the two nuns and of Benedetta’s fall from an abbess to an outcast is revealed in surprisingly candid archival documents and retold here with a fine sense of drama.’
The first image from the movie has been released, which you can see above. It shows Virginie Efira as the title character, flanked by soldiers. Charlotte Rampling also stars. The movie is currently shooting in Italy, with plans for a 2019 release.