Benedetta (Canal+): the true and sad story of this 17th century lesbian and mystical nun

In Benedetta of Paul Verhoeven – to discover this evening on Canal + – Virginie Efira embodies a sulphurous nun (this is how Paul Verhoenven depicts it anyway) of the 17th century. The Dutch director of Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers or Shefreely adapted the essay by an American historian, Judith C. Brown, entitled “Sister Benedetta, between saint and lesbian”, which recounts the atypical journey of this nun and recounts her trial in Sapphism in Renaissance Italy .

mystical visions

Benedetta Carlini was born into a wealthy family in the village of Vellano, in present-day Tuscany. The mother and the child miraculously survived a difficult childbirth, which decides the father, to thank God, to entrust his daughter to a convent as soon as she is old enough. At the age of nine, the little one entered Pescia, the Theatine monastery. One day, an event will mark her a lot: while the little girl, very pious, prays in front of a statue of the Virgin, she sees it bow before her, before collapsing. It does not take more for the little girl, of great religious fervor, to see it as a religious sign. As an adult, Benedetta begins to have mystical visions with angels, and sometimes Christ, who speak to her and affirm that she is their protege. She confides her hallucinations to her Confessor Father, who suspects these visions to be the work of the Demon. He then asks her, to expiate her pride, to repress her visions, to ask God to punish her so that she does penance. This will trigger many torments in Benedetta.

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Dissociative identity disorder

Following this interview, Benedetta will suffer for two years from terrible chronic pain, often nocturnal, and will be assailed by hallucinations this time terrifying, where she is attacked by men who want to abuse her. To help her get through these nightmarish nights, the convent places another nun, Bartoloméa Crivelli, in her room. Benedetta then begins to have the stigmata of the crucifixionwhich Bartoloméa witnesses, then she experiences experiences where she is literally possessed by an angel, and sometimes Christ. Witnesses claim that in these episodes of possession, Benedetta’s voice and posture change, becoming more like that of a man. After these episodes, it often happens that Bartolomea does not remember anything. The historian considers all of these displays of possession to be symptoms of dissociative identity disorder, like James McAvoy in Split by Night Shyamalan.

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Escalation of unrest

The Sisters of the Monastery now truly believe that God speaks through Benedetta. the young woman gains popularity and rank. At barely 30 years old, she became Abbess. One day, she announces that Christ ripped out her heart and put his in her rib cage. Then she organizes a mystical wedding ceremony with Jesus, where she invites all the notables of the region. We begin to find his behavior strange. A first investigation on her is mounted, which in the end does not call her into question. Later, Benedetta states that an angel, sent by Jesus, is watching her to punish her if she misbehaves. The young woman begins to develop eating and hygiene behavior disorders: she follows a very strict diet and constantly washes herself to stay pure, like the heart of Christ that she shelters within her. When she is inhabited by the angel, she begins to sexually assault her roommate Bartoloméa. She will testify at her trial. Year after year, Benedetta’s popularity within the convent turns to hostility, as the Abbess behaves increasingly badly with her sisters by abusing her authority. A second investigation is carried out, which this time overwhelms her: she invented everything. Benedetta will be sentenced to prison within the convent itself. She will die at the age of 71.

A film to discover on Canal+

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Benedetta (Canal+): the true and sad story of this 17th century lesbian and mystical nun

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