Hot on the heels of his acclaimed Elle, Paul Verhoeven has lined up another French-language film that will again tackle themes of sex, sexuality and religion.
Production has now begun on Blessed Virgin (Sainte Vierge), based on Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy by Judith C. Brown, with Elle star Virginie Efira in the lead role as Benedetta Carlini, a real-life 17th century nun.
Gerard Soeteman — a regular collaborator of Verhoeven’s dating back to 1971’s Business is Business — has adapted the work. Verhoeven’s producer on Elle, Said Ben Said, announced the news via Twitter.
SAINTE VIERGE de Paul Verhoeven avec Virginie Efira. En tournage prochainement. pic.twitter.com/kCnSqGYyVc
— Saïd Ben Saïd (@saidbensaid66) April 25, 2017
Born in 1591, Carlini is a significant figure for historians of women’s spirituality and lesbianism. At 30 she was made abbess of a convent in Pescia where she claimed she was experiencing visions of being murdered. It was later found that she had engaged in sexual relations with a fellow nun, whom she was accused of molesting.
SBS Distribution will launch sales of Blessed Virgin in Cannes.