Audrey Dewan talks about ‘Abortion Happening’

WThe Interior of the 2021 Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival, writer and director Audrey Dewan who is unwavering and full of suspense Happen or occur It follows the young protagonist, Anne (Annamaria Vartolome), a helpless middle-class college student desperately trying to seek an illegal abortion in order to continue her studies in France in the 1960s.

The immersive work is likely to be compared to other notable films about women seeking abortions under restrictive conditions, such as 4 months, 3 weeks and 2 days And Never Rarely Sometimes Always. But the presence of these relatively recent films with similar themes does not diminish the urgency or dynamism of Diwan Al-Masali’s entry into cinematography focused on reproductive rights. Happen or occur It opens in the US on Friday, just days after a leaked draft opinion revealed that the Supreme Court was considering overturning the revolutionary ruling on abortion rights. Raw vs. Wade.

Adapted from the autobiographical novel by French writer Annie Ernault. Happen or occur It’s not just a realistic and timely look at the consequences of making abortion illegal – it’s also a story about sexual freedom. Below, Dewan talks with TIME about her experience making a time period film with current themes, her artistic process, and the kind of conversation she hopes to spark. Happen or occur.

How did you first learn about the work of writer Annie Erno and this novel?

I had an abortion myself and wanted to read about it. A friend recommended me to read Happen or occur. When I read the book, I was struck by my lack of knowledge. The main difference between medical abortion and illegal abortion is that illegal abortion is all random. Will this person refer you to the police or help you? Will you end up in prison, in a hospital? It’s more than just a thrill. It is vital.

I kept thinking about the little girl’s way [in the book] He talks about her sexual desire and pleasure. I understand that. It also talks about intellectual desire. I wanted to make a movie that talked about freedom. It also involves illegal abortion. I wasn’t like, “I’m going to make a political statement.” What is political in my work is this relationship to freedom.

There are still some cultural judgments about freedom and desire, and a tendency in storytelling to limit female desire for feelings of love. Happen or occur radical in this regard.

I think desire is beautiful. I didn’t want the movie to be just about pain. There is light. There is a desire. All these girls are trying to protect [their right to feel desire] To be free someday [of] This is a social disgrace. If you are sexually free, society will not accept that. And the way society punishes this freedom is [banning] miscarriage. So you are not free to do whatever you want with your body.

While this is a piece from a period, the topics are not from the past. Around the world and in the United States, women still face strict and restrictive laws that limit access to abortion.

I wanted to avoid [being a] period piece. Because what is left [the same] Silence today. she’s amazing. These stories are meant to remain silent. There is a social shame. Boys and men were raised to think, This is not our story. Women are brought up to think, so they should not be talked about.

So of course I wanted to make a story that can be seen as a story in the present, because somewhere in the world, it’s always true. When I started writing it, I never imagined it would be accurate in the United States.

What does it mean to you personally to be in the US with this movie, considering the tightening of abortion laws?

I hope that [everyone] You could find a way to break the silence, to really talk about the topic and the topic. Nobody ever told me what an illegal abortion is [really looks like]. In other countries, like Italy and even in France, some people who were against abortion came to see my film and we were able to have a discussion afterwards. This is important.

Read more: Happen or occur A grim but timely warning from France in the 1960s

Your film is intensely immersive; You prefer long processes and do not interrupt work often. The central scene of miscarriage, for example, is all one thing. This seemed to be a particularly technical challenge.

I don’t want any ideas to be listed too soon. If you ask Anamaria to show that she is in pain, everyone will get it very quickly. But this is my opinion. So if my sequence is too long, you start to feel what you’re feeling and it becomes provocative.

You also have a very realistic approach, especially when showing nudity. You don’t romanticize her body, but instead show us her vulnerability.

We were trying to be her, not watch her. It’s this little girl who is partially discovering her body at the same time that she needs to hurt him.

How did Annamaria Vartolomei help prepare for this part, to make it into this headspace?

We spent a lot of time before the shooting talking about meaning. We’ve also worked on silence and inner monologue. When she’s silent, she has an obsessive thought on her face [yearning] To express.

I am intrigued by your approach to the men of this story: the professors, the doctors, the romantic interests. You view them as a product of their time rather than blatantly denigrating them.

I don’t judge my characters. They grew up not knowing anything about it. There aren’t many heroes in our society who can actually accept the idea that if they get caught, they’ll end up in prison. It is not easy to judge. We have to think about it. Will we be heroes? [in that situation]?

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