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New York Film Festival 2021 Night 1 (for me):

Updated: Jun 24, 2022

“If it’s controversial, I’m more interested” BENEDETTA: I love a good controversy. If something is controversial, I only want to see it more, mostly because I’m a contrarian by nature, especially when it comes to film. I also love most films I see and want to see as many as humanly possible (I’m a “movie slut” by nature -a term I stole from an English Professor of mine when we ran into each other at Sundance years ago - he was every bit what you think of when you think of a stereotypical English professor, and I was shocked and delighted when I heard this phrase), and I also love run-on-sentences... and ellipses... So I was delighted to see that a Conservative Catholic Group had a sign up decrying and protesting Paul Verhoeven’s “lesbian nun drama” (as it’s been referred to in the press) Benedetta (simplifying it to that is like saying Jaws is a movie about water safety). I took a picture, laughed (this group doesn’t want gay people to get married, so I have little sympathy with this particular group - hilariously they looked delighted that I was taking the picture) and one of my favorite moments of the night came right after when someone passing by said “is this part of the movie?” HILARIOUSLY pointing out that controversy usually makes people want to see things more. Hello, me. The most shocking thing about the film is how funny it is (okay, there’s also some other things that people will find shocking... like a lot... if you see it... you’ll know). Another surprise is that it is not exactly what you expect from Verhoeven (well, it IS, and it isn’t), but it’s a fascinating look at religion and piety, which I am supremely fascinated by even though I have little interest in being religious anymore, but I still sometimes go to mass and feel fine about it even though I don’t really believe in any of it anymore. I don’t know, anyway, those are my thoughts about seeing Benedetta tonight at NYFF. Are you still reading this...? Instagram is telling me to stop - understandably so. It’s lovely to be back in theaters with people sitting in the dark together enjoying art - or screaming at each other as a few people did tonight.

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