A lesbian nun who is satisfied with an edited statue of the Virgin Mary: since the premiere in Cannes, much attention has been paid to that one specific scene in

Benedetta

.

It resulted in a protest in New York, a ban in Russia and many questions from journalists.

Director Paul Verhoeven explains to NU.nl that it mainly says something about the world of today.

What is Benedetta about?

  • Benedetta tells the story of the lesbian nun Benedetta Carlini (played by Virginie Efira), who was tried by the church leadership in the seventeenth century and burned at a stake.

"I think people get a shock from certain scenes," acknowledges 83-year-old Verhoeven.

"You should read the criticism of

Spetters

from 1980. Completely swept away by all journalists for months. They were so shocked that they drove him into the ground. It took ten years before it was once said that it might be a nice movie."

"Dildos have been used constantly, throughout the ages," the director continues. "I don't think the fuss is about the dildo itself, but the fact that it is a statue of Mary." Still, that alleged blasphemy isn't the only thing that stands out about the scene. Verhoeven portrays the action, while nine out of ten filmmakers would have aimed the camera above the hips.

"But why?" Verhoeven wonders.

"I've never done that. It's just realism. I show everything characters do. If they shoot each other rotten, I show it too. It's all right if there's blood spraying around, like slaughtering a pig. But "As soon as it comes to sex, which is much more normal than violence, suddenly you can't show it anymore. The question should not be why I do it, but why the others don't do it."

1

Watch the trailer of Benedetta

'Sex is so important to people, you do it every few days'

According to Verhoeven, sex is essential for life.

"It's so important to people. You do it every few days. What kind of secret is there? What's the point of keeping it away, anyway?"

Director Nouchka van Brakel (

From the cool lakes of death

), a contemporary of Verhoeven, already pointed out in a speech how the film world is being spoiled.

"She is completely right," Verhoeven responds.

"Certainly in America it is almost impossible to show a bare torso. The film world is totally smashed. It works in a kind of pendulum motion. In the seventies that pendulum was at its peak. You could show everything, which sexuality But now we're back to a puritanism that I can only remember from World War II, when I started watching movies as a seven-year-old."

Benedetta will be

in Dutch cinemas from Thursday 14 October.

Keywords: paul verhoeven, scene, benedetta, premiere, nun, movie, film world, dildo scene, statue, attention, fuss, lot, cannes, something, realism