Sundance Movie Review – Happening
The Spotlight category is for films that have premiered at previous festivals and this film, Event, won the Golden Lion at the 2021 Venice Film Festival.
In this excellent period piece, it’s 1963 France and young Anne is on her way to graduating with honors and heading to college when she finds out she’s pregnant from her first sexual encounter. . From there, the film counts down weeks as his fear and despair grow. Anne is tricked by one doctor and another tells her to “accept it – you have no choice”. Anne feels she has a choice even if those choices include possible death or imprisonment.
The film is painful to watch on several levels. The play became even more powerful for me, when I realized that director Audrey Diwan had adapted the script from Annie Ernaux’s memoir. The author has been young Anne whose dreams of being the first in her family to attend college and become a writer were on the line.
Anamaria Vartolomei who plays Anne is amazing in her first feature film role. It was an interesting film to watch after seeing a documentary and drama about The Jane Collective, a group of women activists who organized to help provide safe abortions to women in Chicago in the late 60s and the early 1970s before the legalization of the process. It is important that no doctor, ever again, tells a woman “accept it – you have no choice” and that no woman should ever risk her life with an illegal procedure.