Wednesday, October 12, 2022

French Movie Mercredi: Happening (2021)


L'événement (2021) Dir: Audrey Diwan. Starring Anamaria Vartolomei, based on the novel by Annie Ernaux.

I had L'événement, or Happening, on my to-be-watched list before Annie Ernaux was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature last week, but that award definitely bumped it up for me and luckily it was available to stream from several services. This 2021 movie is set in the 1960s in Paris and tells the story of Anne, a fiercely ambitious college student who gets pregnant at a time when abortion often meant death or prison. 

Anamaria Vartolomei isn't the only actor in the movie but she might as well be, so fully does she command the screen as Anne, who is determined to end her pregnancy one way, or the other, and continue with her studies. I think she's in every scene. It all hinges on Anne's drive and grit. Nothing comes easy. Even the people who try to help her seem like they either don't care or don't have the necessary power or agency to act. What would happen to Anne if she fell in line too?

It's a depressing movie for sure especially in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling which threatens to send us all back into the world she lives in, where abortion is talked about only in whispers, where a pregnant person's agency and freedom don't exist or exist only at the whims of whatever doctor they happen to run into. It's really terrifying and unfortunately all too real. One word will determine her fate.

It made me angry, and sad, and then angry and sad again. You should watch it.