NEW YORK, NY (May 27, 2021) – IFC Films announced today that they are acquiring North American rights to the erotic thriller Benedetta, directed by Paul Verhoeven. Verhoeven’s first directorial effort since his 2016 film Elle, Benedetta entangles sexuality, religion, and human ambition in its story of a young novitiate in 17th century Italy who begins an affair with another nun. IFC Films plans to release the film this year.
Written by Verhoeven and David Birke (Elle), the film is inspired by historian Judith C. Brown’s non-fiction book Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy and is produced by Said Ben Said for SBS Production, Michel Merkt, and Pathé. The film stars Virginie Efira alongside Daphne Patakia, Lambert Wilson, Olivier Rabourdin, Clotilde Courau, Hervé Pierre, and Charlotte Rampling (45 Years).
In the late 17th century, with plague ravaging the land, Benedetta Carlini (Virginie Efira) joins the convent in Pescia, Tuscany, as a novice. Tormented by religious and erotic visions and capable from an early age of performing miracles, Benedetta’s impact on life in the community is immediate and momentous.
Originally slated to make its world premiere at the cancelled 2020 Cannes Film Festival, Benedetta will now arrive on the Croisette this July, where it will compete for the Palme d’Or. This will mark Verhoeven’s third Cannes bow, following Elle in 2016 and Basic Instinct, which opened the festival in 1992.
Arianna Bocco, President of IFC Films said, “Benedetta walks the line between the sacred and the profane, and in the hands of visionary filmmaker Paul Verhoeven, it’s a provocative thriller that will entice audiences everywhere. We couldn’t be more excited to be working with Verhoeven, Said Ben Said, Pathé, and the stellar production team to launch the film in North America this year.”
Producers Pathé and SBS added, “We are thrilled to partner with the very talented team at IFC on this exceptional Verhoeven film. We feel it really is the right home for the film in the US and the long expertise of the IFC team is a great asset to optimize the launch and visibility of Benedetta.”
The deal for the film was negotiated by IFC Films President Arianna Bocco and Director of Acquisitions Aijah Keith with Marie Laure Montironi, Executive Vice President International Sales at Pathé.
ABOUT IFC FILMS
Established in 2000 and based in New York City, IFC Films is a leading U.S. distributor of independent film. Its unique distribution model makes independent films available to a national audience by releasing them in theaters as well as on cable’s Video On Demand (VOD) and digital platforms.
Current releases include the critically acclaimed and record-breaking THE DRY starring Eric Bana and the upcoming UNDINE directed by Christian Petzold (TRANSIT, PHOENIX). Current releases include Sam Pollard’s acclaimed documentary MLK/FBI and Oliver Hermanus’ MOFFIE. Some of the company’s successes over the years have included BOYHOOD, THE DEATH OF STALIN, FRANCES HA, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, THE BABADOOK, TOUCHING THE VOID, 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS, CHE, SUMMER HOURS, ANTICHRIST, IN THE LOOP, JOAN RIVERS: A PIECE OF WORK, TINY FURNITURE, and CARLOS. IFC Films has worked with established and breakout filmmakers, including Steven Soderbergh, Gus Van Sant, Spike Lee, Richard Linklater, Miranda July, Lars Von Trier, Gaspar Noé, Todd Solondz, Cristian Mungiu, Susanne Bier, Olivier Assayas, Jim McKay, Larry Fessenden, Paul Dano, Gregg Araki, Jacques Rivette, Claude Chabrol, Abdellatif Kechiche, Kore-eda Hirokazu, Abbas Kiarostami, Alfonso Cuaron, Noah Baumbach, Lena Dunham, Ethan Hawke and many more. IFC Films is a sister label to IFC Midnight, and is owned and operated by AMC Networks Inc.
Pathé is a European leader in film production, exploitation, and distribution. Drawing from its rich history, Pathé operates as a film studio in France, the UK, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. It is involved in all aspects of filmmaking, from development and production through to international sales, distribution and exhibition.
In 2019, Pathé operated 130 cinemas with a total of 1,312 screens in 5 countries, offering audiences a unique experience with an unrivalled network of premium, IMAX® Laser, Dolby Cinema and 4DX theaters.
Pathé produces and distributes a wide range of hit comedies, critical darlings, political dramas and award-winning films. In 2019, Pathé produced and distributed 17 films in France and the United Kingdom, and employed more than 4,14200 employees. Pathé’s international sales team handles the marketing and international sales of Pathé’s own productions, and acquires third party films for worldwide representation. Pathé has a major presence at all film markets and international festivals.