Paul Verhoeven Says There's a Misunderstanding About Sexuality in the United States

'Benedetta'Credit: Pathé
Paul Verhoeven has a point of view and he's not backing down. 

Director Paul Verhoeven is not one to shy away from controversy. The man has never backed down from any subject matter and is known for his scathing satires and steamy thrillers. 

In the years since he directed the smash-hit Basic Instinct, he's chased all sorts of different stories, even releasing a book on Jesus. Now he's back to the big screen with Benedettabased on the novel Immodest Acts – The Life of a Lesbian Nun In Renaissance Italy, which was inspired by a true story. The film follows Benedetta Carlini, a young nun who people suspect has divine abilities. She begins an affair with another nun, who might actually be nefarious. 

This film feels like a throwback to the erotic thrillers of old. Movies Hollywood just doesn't make anymore. 

When asked by Variety why studios don't make erotic movies anymore, Verhoeven told Variety, "There’s been a general shift towards Puritanism. I think there’s a misunderstanding about sexuality in the United States. Sexuality is the most essential element of nature. I’m always amazed people are shocked by sex in movies."

That shock can help with box office, with movies like Fifty Shades and Basic Instinct ruling the cultural lexicon, but they are few and far between. Verhoeven has never been afraid to tell these stories, especially with characters who are LGBTQ+. And that's something mainstream Hollywood still has not fully embraced. 

When it came down to the sexual relationship in Benedetta, Verhoeven said, "I haven’t made it a point. It’s a big percent of the population. Homosexuality is part of life, so it should be a part of our dramas. Why should I ignore that? It’s there. A certain part of the population is bisexual or homosexual or transgender, that’s the reality. I come back to it because it’s a normal part of life."

Benedetta releases July 9 in France, with a U.S. release date still to be determined. 

Check out the rest of the interview and let us know what you think in the comments.      

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The original Dutch headline translates more accurately to: "Paul Verhoeven States the Obvious"

July 8, 2021 at 11:27AM

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David Patrick Raines
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