1hr 39mins

Winner of the Golden Lion at the 2021 Venice Film Festival, Happening is an emotionally devastating character study, skilfully portraying the unbearable isolation of women seeking abortions in 1960s France.

Unfortunately no Audio Description track is available for this feature.
Audrey Diwan
abortion scenes, strong sex, nudity
Contains Foreign Language Subtitles

Anamaria Vartolomei carries the burden of the entire film effortlessly, playing young student Anne, a spirited, studious woman whose entire life is upended by a surprise pregnancy.

Unable to pursue legal means of having an abortion, and unable to confide in her best friends of her taboo circumstances, who would also be jailed if they assisted her, she must seek a dangerous backstreet means of abortion – which not only threatens legal repercussions, but also poses a grave threat to her own health.

An awards favourite, this recalls the recent indie marvel Never Rarely Sometimes Always – but while Eliza Hittman’s film spotlighted the integral role of solidarity and familial support in seeking to have an abortion, Happening, in contrast, shows the impossible, all-too-recent hardship of women going through it alone.

Vartolomei offers a note-perfect performance of immense power, while Diwan’s no-holds-barred, claustrophobically intimate, necessarily eye-opening approach to the reality of contemporary history makes for unforgettable, vital cinema.

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