Venice Film Festival: a Golden Lion for a Frenchwoman for “L’Événement”, a film on abortion



The Venice Film Festival sent a new feminist signal by unanimously awarding its Golden Lion to a director, Audrey Diwan, for a raw and intimate film on abortion, The event, two months after the Palme d’Or to another Frenchwoman. “Unfortunately when you work on abortion, you are always in the news”, said upon receiving her award the 41-year-old French director, who said she had “Made this film with anger and desire”.

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“I wanted it to be an experience”, a “Journey in the skin of this young woman”, added the successor to the Chinese-American Chloé Zhao, 39, crowned last year for Nomadland before triumphing at the Oscars.

Four years after the Weinstein affair and the start of an examination of the conscience of the 7th art, the very gradual opening of the most prestigious awards to female directors is confirmed: in July, the Cannes Film Festival distinguished a young French director, Julia Ducournau, 37, Palme d’Or with the UFO Titanium, a feminist film that blows up the boundaries between genres in its own way.

“Something is changing”

“Something is changing. A woman won the Oscar, a woman won the Palme d’Or, a woman won the Lion d’Or. It necessarily means something, it cannot be chance ”, underlined Audrey Diwan.

Her film, adapted from the eponymous autobiographical story by novelist Annie Ernaux, takes place in France in the 1960s, before the legalization of abortion. It shows the journey of a young student who becomes pregnant, played by the Franco-Romanian Anamaria Vartolomei.

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This is the second film by Audrey Diwan, French novelist and journalist of Lebanese origin, who has co-authored the screenplay for several films including North ferry Where French by Cédric Jimenez, then moved on to directing (But you are crazy). She becomes the fourth director to receive the most prestigious award in Venice since 2000.

Best Direction for Jane Campion

In the rest of the list, several films are also marked by these questions: this is the case of Dog power, by Jane Campion, who won the New Zealander the prize for best achievement, 28 years after her Palme d’Or for The Piano Lesson.

The film, stifling behind closed doors in a cowboy world, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Kirsten Dunst, tackles the question of exacerbated and toxic masculinity. “A Berlin Wall is falling”, said Jane Campion, of the presence of women on the charts.

→ REPORT. At the Venice Film Festival, the return of the repressed past

Released by Netflix, this film should not be released in theaters in France, just like another winner of the prize list established by the jury of South Korean Bong Joon-ho (Parasite) : Paolo Sorrentino. The Italian director won the grand prize for God’s hand, on his childhood in Naples, at the time of footballer Diego Maradona, shattered by the death of his parents.

Best Actress for Penélope Cruz, Best Actor for John Arcilla

The jury awarded the award for best actress to Penélope Cruz, for her role in “Madres Paralelas”, by Pedro Almodovar, who continues with his favorite actress to celebrate the strength of women and mothers in the face of cowardly or absent men. Among the actors, the jury distinguished the Filipino John Arcilla for his role as a journalist in search of the truth in On the Job 2: The Missing 8.

After a half-hearted 2020 edition, marked by the pandemic and a lack of outstanding films in competition, the Venice Film Festival, the oldest film festivals in the world, has regained all its luster. His influence was once again measured by the yardstick of American stars, who flocked to the red carpet of the Lido, which over the years has become a launching pad before the Oscar season. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck walked up the steps to The Last Duel, by Ridley Scott, a few days after the stars of Dune : Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac and Javier Bardem.

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