The premiere of Paul Verhoven’s “Benedata” at the New York Film Festival on Sunday welcomed a small group of protesters.
The biographical drama, starring Virginia Ephera, tells the story of a 17th-century monk who falls in love with another nun. It is open to widespread acclaim at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, receiving five minutes of standing acclaim and quickly becoming the talk of the event.
But a group of protesters from the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property did not have the same reaction, gathering outside the NYFF venue Alice Tully Hall and calling the film “reprehensible.”
The NYFF itself acknowledged the protesters, posting a picture of some of them with information about the film’s release times. “We strongly protest the reprehensible lesbian movie ‘Benedetta’, which insults the sanctity of Catholic monks,” a sign reads. “Why the constant insult to Jesus?” Another asked.
– 59th New York Film Festival (@TheNYFF) September 26, 2021
NYFF participants posted pictures and videos of the protest on social media, indicating how this could be a great advertisement for the film.
– Tomris Luffy September 26, 2021
If I had been on the Benedata PR / Distribution Team, I would have immediately released a poster with “Blasphemous Lesbian Movie” as a prominent quote. https://t.co/FI5lHTDDaN
– Rafa Sales Ross (Rafius) September 26, 2021
“Benedata” has been fairly well received by critics DiversityWritten by Peter Debruze: “In view of his hatred of all things, Benedetta’s aim is to awaken, which satisfies the most basic definition of pornography, even with Verhoeven (who claims a certain scholarly interest in the subject) with enlightened insights into Renaissance religious life.” Titling surrounds the bit.
Verhoven’s representatives did not immediately respond DiversityRequest to comment.