In 2019, Audrey Diwan directed her first film, “But you are crazy”. Two years later, she won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for “L’Événement”. We met her, a few days before the film’s release, in theaters on November 24.
Audrey Diwan’s Event: the shock of 2021
2021 was the year of consecration for Audrey Diwan. Her film (the second as a director) The event was sacred Golden Lion unanimously at the last Venice Film Festival. This adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s autobiographical novel, published in 2000, depicts the journey of a young literature student, Anne, who becomes pregnant and embarks on a grueling journey to end this unwanted pregnancy. The film is set in the early 1960s, so it is about a clandestine abortion.
When we meet Audrey Diwan, two months after her coronation in Venice, she returns from a marathon of several previews across France and Europe. A relief for the director, who feared having to fight for her film to exist:
I really have the feeling that I had the opportunity to show the film. It was our fear when we did, that we wouldn’t be able to show it. These are subjects for which we must fight. There it was the opposite, we had a lot of proposals. I have met a lot of different audiences. Young people, older people, men, women. Lots of different looks on the movie.
Exchanges with a public sometimes against abortion, as happened during a press conference in Italy:
There is a journalist who was against abortion but who told me that the film had wavered something in him, that other questions were opened. Obviously, I don’t expect the film to make someone change their minds in 1 hour and 40 minutes.
Preferring raise questions, rather than giving answers, Audrey Diwan hopes to have the opportunity to show the film in Poland, a country where the issue of abortion is very complicated:
VSit would be my wish to show the film to people who are against abortion. I also think that there is a whole section of people who are against abortion who are a bit in some of my characters. And therefore in the state in which Annie Ernaux found them at the time, in the 60s. That is to say that these are people who do not imagine what a clandestine abortion route is.
The political significance of The event is evident in questions that he raises. But Audrey Diwan’s initial impulse was above all artistic:
I think that what is political is not the film, but the discussions that follow. This is where I accept it. My own gesture is artistic. If I had had to be in politics, since it was my studies, I would have gone in that direction. After that, whether you have a political feeling or a political anger when you leave the film, I admit it completely. I didn’t want to deliver a political message at all, I hate message films. I prefer films that ask questions to those that impose answers. But I understand that the debates can also be political. Then we also talk a lot about cinema and intimacy.
A total sensory experience
Audrey Diwan has always wanted to The event a physical cinematic experience. Do not look at Anne (played by the formidable Anamaria Vartolomei), but rather try to be her. To summon the sensory, the carnal, through a staging to the bone, constantly adopting the point of view of his heroine, even in the most trying scenes. This device which spares nothing to the spectator, because he doesn’t look away, can sometimes push the experience to the point of discomfort, as happened on several occasions during the film’s sessions.
I think it’s linked to the work that we did over the duration of these sequences, which means that we can feel them to the point of sometimes being crossed by an unpleasant feeling. But what my heroine is going through is quite unpleasant. The right duration is between the theoretical, therefore the moment when we give information such as “it hurts”, and the provocation. It was necessary to assess what was the right duration.
This fair duration, Audrey Diwan found it on set, hand in hand with his actress Anamaria Vartolomei. For the more grueling scenes, she didn’t want to mechanize the process:
You had to take the risk of finding out on the set. For me, risk is part of creation. When we…