A group of Catholic activists from Belfast, Ireland are up against
Paul Verhoeven's film not only tells the story of nun Benedetta Carlini's lesbian experiences, a true story dating back to the 17th century, but the film's release date tenses them up even more.
Indeed, the feature film, released in France last July, arrives this Friday in the United Kingdom, the Good Friday before Easter.
As a result, a petition was launched against the film starring Virginie Effira in the title role.
"In a shocking attack on Good Friday, the film company MUBI will release
throughout Ireland and the UK, a film which horrifically insults Our Mother and Her Son," the petition reads.
Activists went on to list everything they have against the film, starting with the fact that it allegedly disrespects the true story of Sister Benedetta.
Paul Verhoeven was inspired by historian Judith C. Brown's book,
Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy
, to write his screenplay.
Virginie Effira embodies the nun who discovers her sexuality and her attraction to women at the convent.
For Catholic activists, it is neither more nor less than a “blasphemous” and “pornographic” film, and even “the exploitation of nuns”.
They protest in particular to see the sister "use a statuette of the Blessed Virgin as a sex-toy".
They argue that in the 1620s, the real Sister Benedetta, to explain herself, ended up declaring that she had been "possessed by the demon".
Paul Verhoeven had anticipated criticism by responding last year to those who were already crying blasphemy.
"I don't really understand how you can blaspheme something that happened, even in 1625. You can't change history, you can't change the things that happened, and I based it on facts that happened.
So I think the word blasphemy in this case is stupid,” he told
As for the nudity present in the film, the filmmaker had recalled that “in general, people, when they have a sexual relationship, take off their clothes”.
Of which act.
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