French director Audrey Diwan, 41, received the Golden Lion in Venice on Saturday for The event, a film about a young woman who clandestinely aborts, adapted from the eponymous autobiographical story by novelist Annie Ernaux.
“Unfortunately when you work on abortion you are always in the news“, declared while receiving her award Audrey Diwan, who succeeds the Chinese-American Chloé Zhao, crowned last year for Nomadland.
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“I made this movie with anger and desire, I made it with my belly, with my guts with my heart“, she added.”I wanted it to be an experience“, a “journey in the skin of this young woman“.
Audrey Diwan, whose second film is after but you are crazy (2019), is also a journalist, novelist and screenwriter – she co-authored the screenplays for North Bac and French.
The Golden Lion was awarded unanimously by the jury chaired by South Korean director Bong Joon-Ho (Parasite).
Anne, the main character, is a carefree student in France in the early 1960s, where clandestine abortion is punished by prison for those who perform it as well as for those who help. It was not decriminalized until 1975.
Anne discovers that she is pregnant, but the young woman, from a working-class background, wishes to continue her studies of letters, the only chance to build a future outside her native village. Doctors, friends, partner, teacher: she won’t find anyone to help her.
Framed as close as possible to the character, with a long sequence shot during which Anne tries to have an abortion, The event (second adaptation by Annie Ernaux this year after Simple passion) can be trying, wanting to be as close as possible to reality and the ordeal endured by women who had to abort clandestinely, risking their lives.
The film is carried by a young actress of 22 years, Anamaria Vartolomei, a brunette with light eyes and a diaphanous complexion, who bursts the screen for her first major role.
“I really put myself in his shoes. I said to myself: ok, we are both 21 years old, what is it for a young girl?“to abort, she told AFP.”Me, I am lucky to have rights, acquired but which are still fragile. I defended her with as much interest as possible, because it’s terrible, she has to choose between her studies, her career or her life. It is unfair !”
Born in Romania in Bacau (northeast) Anamaria saw her parents leave for France at the age of two. The father works in the building and when she is six years old her parents earn enough money to bring her with them, to Issy-les-Moulineaux, in the Parisian suburbs (Hauts-de-Seine).
It was at school that she discovered the theater before registering for a casting for a film by Eva Ionesco, My little princess, where she will play at the age of 10. Twelve years later, “I want to take on roles that are richer and richer, complicated, nuanced, puzzling, ambiguous. I feel ready“.