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Happening is a gripping and uncompromising adaptation of the leading french contemporary writer Annie Ernaux’s account of her personal experience with abortion, while it was still illegal in 1960s France.

Anne Duchesne (Anamaria Vartolomei) is a smart, young student, who discovers she is pregnant. Suddenly her life takes a different turn than what she had envisioned and hoped. Judgement from both male doctors and close friends follows, as Anne investigates the possibility of abortion, despite risking jail time, and even her life, in doing so.

In the lead role, Vartolomei proves herself as an immensely talented actress, not only due to her expressive eyes, but with a physical performance that makes the film an intense experience to sit through. Several scenes prompt the urge to look away. These moments are not included only as a means to shock the audience, but to portray the brutal reality, letting viewers feel the oppressive system into their own bodies. Director Audrey Diwan’s adaptation grows more important in light of the story’s tragic actuality. It is a strong reminder that the fight for the right to govern one’s own body is far from over for all women.

This film was chosen by film critic Hanne Nord.


Audrey Diwan (b. 1980) is a french director and screenwriter. She directed her first feature, Losing it, in 2019, and has written several screenplays for husband Cédric Jimenez’ films. Happening was chosen for the main competition at the Venice International Film Festival and won the highest prize, The Golden Lion.


2021 L'événement / Happening
2019 Mais vous êtes fous / Losing It

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