VENICE FILM FESTIVAL – Film on illegal abortion wins Golden Lion

Photo: Audrey Diwan & Anamaria Vartolomei

On 11 September 2021, at the Venice Film Festival, South Korean director Bong Joon-ho, awarded the Golden Lion to a little known filmmaker Audrey Diwan, director of L’Evénement, a film on abortion, adapted from the autobiographical novel by Annie Ernaux, published in 2000 by Gallimard.

The film has been described as a sort of filmed newspaper, with a tight framing. Anne is played by Franco-Romanian actress Anamaria Vartolomei, to rave reviews. A student of literature in the early 1960s, and from a modest background, Anne finds herself pregnant and desperately seeks to end her pregnancy, when abortion was still prohibited in France (it was legalised in 1975 with the Veil Law). Anne wants to find the courage to talk about it – but to whom? She must not crack, and it is the young woman’s ability to “swallow” her pain, in silence, which is overwhelming. The camera puts the audience behind her back, leaving her face out of view at the time of the abortion. Suffering is with her rather than watched, says the reviewer, we are no longer with Anne, we are Anne.

The film is due out in February 2022.

SOURCE: Le Monde, by Clarisse Fabre, 12 September 2021; PHOTO by Filippo Monteforte/ AFP in AlJazeera 11 September 2021.