Original title:Happening
Director:Audrey Diwan
Running time:100 minutes
Release date:Not communicated
France, 1963. Anne, a promising student, becomes pregnant. She decides to have an abortion, ready to do anything to dispose of her body and her future. She sets out alone in a race against time, defying the law. The exams are approaching, her belly is getting bigger.

Mulder's Review

"As I left the screening of the event, I was very moved, I only found to address to Audrey Diwan these words: "You have made a fair film." Fair, that is, as close as possible to what it meant for a girl to discover herself pregnant in the sixties when the law prohibited and punished abortion. The film does not demonstrate, does not judge, does not dramatize. It follows Anne in her life and environment as a student from the moment she waits in vain for her period to the moment when her pregnancy is behind her, when the "Event" has taken place. Simply - in a manner of speaking - it is through Anne's gaze, her gestures, her way of behaving with others, of walking, her silences, that he makes us feel the sudden shift produced in her existence, in her body which becomes heavier, demands food and becomes disgusted." - Annie Ernaux

Happening was selected for the world premiere in competition at the 78th Venice International Film Festival on September 6, 2021, where the film won the Golden Lion. Based on Annie Ernaux's novel published in 2000, this film is finally released in France this November 24th and we can only advise you to discover it not only as an excellent adaptation of Annie Ernaux's novel but also as a film that tackles with the right approach the theme of abortion.

After having seen Happening, one wonders if having taken the film Titane to represent France at the next Oscars ceremony is a wise choice, as this film, although visually impeccable, does not succeed in convincing us with its scenario. It is quite different here not only the scenario of Audrey Diwan, Marcia Romano and Anne Berest finds the right approach and succeeds in giving life to the 60's and to the difficulties of some young women caught in a spiral that overtakes them, but above all it gives us the portrait of a courageous young woman in advance of her time. 

This film takes us back to the 60's, more precisely in France in 1963, Anne is a young student with an important future who has decided to become a writer. However, her future will be changed when she learns that she is pregnant and that at that time a young unmarried woman who is pregnant and decides not to keep her child can go to prison. While all her life she has struggled to break free from the constraints of her underprivileged background and has proven to be an excellent student, she must find a way to get an abortion and especially hide the fact that she is pregnant. Risking losing her close friends and wanting to have an abortion, she will have to face hostile doctors and above all find the person capable of helping her.

Far from being a provocative or politically engaged film, Happening is above all a film that witnesses a past era in which women did not have the same rights and especially could not reach the same positions as men. By continually seeking authenticity, Happening is a hard-hitting film that is indispensable for reflection on abortion. The revelation of the film, Anamaria Vartolomei, is simply extraordinary in her accuracy and gives her character an emotion on the skin.

After her first film, Mais vous êtes fous (https://mulderville.net/fr/critiques/5159/mais-vous-etes-fous), the writer and director Audrey Diwan delivers a simply perfect film with a strong emotional force. A look at a bygone era and the importance of women in our society. Without her, man is nothing, without women our society simply could not continue to exist. Certainly we have not finished hearing about its director Audrey Diwan nor about this film which should collect a good number of nominations at the next Cesar awards. It is in any case what we wish it and we encourage you to go to the cinema to discover this film which will remain in your memory for a long time after having seen it.

Directed by Audrey Diwan
Screenplay by Audrey Diwan, Marcia Romano, Anne Berest
Based on L'événement by Annie Ernaux
Produced by Edouard Weil, Alice Girard
Starring Anamaria Vartolomei, Kacey Mottet Klein, Sandrine Bonnaire, Louise Orry-Diquero, Louise Chevillotte, Pio Marmaï, Anna Mouglalis, Fabrizio Rongione, Luàna Bajrami, Leonor Oberson
Cinematography : Laurent Tangy
Edited by Géraldine Mangenot
Music by Evgueni Galperine, Sacha Galperine
Production companies : Rectangle Productions, France 3 Cinéma, SRAB Films
Distributed by Wild Bunch
Release date : 6 September 2021 (Venice), 24 November 2021 (France)
Running time : 100 minutes

Reviewed on November 23, 2021 at the UGC Ciné-cité Les Halles, room 10

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