Words: Shamim de Brún
The Irish Society has attacked Queen’s Film Theatre cinema in Belfast for Christian Civilisation for screening a movie about a lesbian nun on Good Friday, of all days.
Ahead of its screening this Friday at QFT, the ISCC has launched a petition to stop it. At the time of publication, it had gathered around 13,000 signatures. The plan is to send it to MUBI, the London-based distributor, and the QFT in hopes of preventing this screening from going ahead. The film also sparked protests outside cinemas in the United States when released last December.
Benedetta, a film by Deutch director Paul Verhoeven, was branded as “a blatant attack on the Catholic faith” by the group. The synopsis for the film starring Virginie Efira describes it as:
“A 17th-century nun in Italy suffers from disturbing and erotic visions. A companion assists her, and the relationship between the two women develops into a romantic love affair.”
According to the ISCC, the film contains several controversial scenes, including using a statuette of the Virgin Mary as a sex toy by lesbian nuns. Conversely, The Guardian described the film as a”PG-ified version of Ken Russell’s The Devils 1971” in their two-star review.
Loosely based on the 1986 non-fiction book Immodest Acts: The Life Of A Lesbian Nun In Renaissance Italy by Judith C Brown. Which itself is loosely based on the story of Sister Benedetta Carlini, an early 17th-century abbess of the Theatine convent in Pescia. Who was the subject of an inquest by Church authorities between 1619 and 1623. The nun in question was also accused of ”demonic possession” at the time. She was removed from her position and died ”repentant and reconciled” with the Catholic church in 1661.
“This movie is a fraud and nothing more than a blatant attack on the Catholic faith. To launch this film on Good Friday is a calculated insult to Christians everywhere.” Damien Murphy, a spokesman for the Irish Society for Christian Civilisation, said in an interview with the Belfast Telegraph.
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