Audrey Diwan’s ‘Silent War’ of Abortion in ‘Emanuel’ and ‘Happening’ – Deadline

Audrey Diwan’s debut in English language management, The Erotic Story Emanuel Starring Lea Seydoux, Croeset is buzzing with buyers like any package purchase at Cannes Market this week. But his last picture Happening (Which, of course, made the video an overnight sensation.) The film was released on US Smack amid revelations that the Supreme Court was planning to overthrow Rowe Wade.

When Audrey Diwan’s film Happening (Events) Was passed by France on behalf of Julia Ducornau’s for the Oscar submission TitaniumThis was not a surprise to Diwan.

“It was a difficult choice for them to make,” he said. “We both have movies that aren’t very easy for academia.”

When Titanium Kane Palme won the D’Or, Diwan was a BAFTA nominee, and won the Golden Lion of Venice. Happening. But Diwan’s film has pushed the envelope to a point where the academy has historically collapsed. Happening It’s a graphic, red-and-white observation of a young woman, played by Anamaria Vertolomei, who went through an illegal abortion – an issue that has been controversial in the United States for some time now. There is also the example of the poor academy, Christian Mungiu’s 2007 film – also about abortion – Romanian submission form Four months, three weeks and two daysWhich did not make the short list.

In the end, perhaps ironically, neither did Titanium. But France’s decision to submit makes Diwan free, not only because of his personal supportive friendship with Ducourno, but also because votes and opinions are not his creative drivers. Despite making a film that speaks to the deep personal heart of women’s freedom, she feels healthyly incoherent about how it was adopted.

“I’m a lazy filmmaker, I travel halfway and then the audience has to do the other half,” he said. “I’m zero provocation, I’m not interested.”


Anamaria Vertolomei as Anne Happening.
Courtesy IFC Films

Dewan turned a blind eye to the adaptation of Annie Arnax’s book of the same name when it hit him personally. “I’m a big fan of Annie Arnax’s literature, and I read the book after I had an abortion,” Dewan said. “I was not looking for a movie. I wanted to read something about it because I have to think about what happened to me. “

Unusually, and sensitively, in the context of the subject, he approached Adaptation in collaboration with Ermaux, who is now in his 80s. “I told him to tell me more about what was not in the book. I had more questions about his family, “said Diwan. “We talked about friends, about sexual desire. And then he agreed to read three versions of the script. “

Diwan then did his best to make the film. “A lot of people in the industry asked me, ‘Why do you want to do this movie now, because we’re in France and we already have the law?’ And I was, ‘Well, I really hope you’ll ask the next filmmaker the same question that comes to you and say they’re going to make a film about World War II. Because I think the war is over. ‘ It was not easy to explain them. I mean, look at how many women died on that battlefield and tell me it’s not a war. It is a silent war. “

Fortunately, he said, his producers are fighters. “It simply came to our notice then. And we always thought, ‘We hope to be able to show it to people in other countries once the movie is done.’

That dream came true when the film won the Golden Lion in Venice and IFC acquired U.S. ownership. “Everything has changed about the Golden Lion issue and the light we can shed on it,” he said.

For Diwan, although the film follows a specific abortion experience, at its core it is about the box in which women are kept and also about social control. “She is a young student who wants to tell everyone, ‘I want an intellectual future. I am moving from one social caste to another. I have a desire and I am going to have sex. ‘ So okay, we also go through an illegal abortion, but to me everything was about freedom. “

Although the story is set in the 60’s, Dewan found it important that the film feels current, so he did not employ any distinctive signs or markers from that era in the film. “I didn’t want to be confusing, but wanted to write a story out of time,” he said. “When you do a period piece, I always feel that there is strategy here and the strategy is nostalgia. Regarding a woman’s condition, I have zero nostalgia. And I really wanted to focus on the things that were important to me. Not the setup, the body. I read the book as a very intimate thriller. And I wanted the film to be a kind of natural organic thriller because time is running out, and he has to find a solution. “

Diwan wanted to confirm another aspect of this story which is that men are not condemned. There was no simplification or definition of their crime. “I read the book in 2019, and there was a lot I didn’t know about illegal abortion,” he said. “Imagine a guy in his 40s in 1963, they had no idea. So it was important for me to try to understand my character without judging it. ”


From left: Luis Ori-Dicero, Luana Bajrami and Vertolomi Inn Happening.
Courtesy IFC Films

Even the doctors in the story who refuse to help Ann are not simply presented as black-and-white, good or bad. “Those who know, or know a little, are afraid because there is a law and the law is very strict. If you are a doctor, and you are going to help the girl you want to help, even if you believe that you are right, at some point you may not be allowed to be a doctor anymore. So, I was very careful with the idea that I would not separate women from men, but I tried to figure it out: what do they know?

Diwan is a part of Le Collectif 50/50, an association promoting the equality and diversity of the industry and its Happening The crew was predominantly female, and a team with whom she had already worked on her first film It’s lost (But you are crazy) He describes their work relationship as “an orchestra”, an analogy he uses because, especially the long shots he employs, with very little editing, everyone must go to the perfect sync. “For a shot to be right, everything, everyone has to be ready at the same moment,” he said. “It’s not like we were doing this and that and this and that and we’ll see when we edit. It wasn’t like that.”

George Miller / Deadline

Read the digital edition of Deadline’s Ear / Disruptor Magazine for 2022 here.

And its condemnation Happening Comes to a particularly long scene where Ann almost dies after an abortion. It’s disgusting and hard to see and unflinchingly real. Did the Diwan ever have any doubts about the presentation?

“It’s very difficult to get it right,” he said. “Emotionally, sometimes I was shocked myself. I remember a sequence when a sound engineer approached me and said, ‘Audrey, I’m sorry but you’re crying louder than Anamaria.’ But I had no question about the way I wanted to put it on screen because Annie Arnax, when she wrote the book, never looked away. So, I can’t get that you can look away. Then I really tried to be that girl and stay at her house. “

The film was shot during the epidemic, but now, Diwan has finally got a chance to meet the audience, some of whom are against abortion. He did not hesitate to speak to them. “I have met some people [anti-abortionists] In France, in Italy, in Germany, in Austria, “he said.” But we were able to have a discussion, a debate. . ”

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