Since winning the prestigious Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival just a month ago, French-Lebanese filmmaker Audrey Diwan has emerged as one of the most exciting and relevant new voices in contemporary world cinema.
Working on a tight budget, a fairly unknown lead actress (Anamaria Vertolomi) and a polarizing subject, Diwan was able to paint a delicate and relatable image of Ann, a brilliant young student determined to rise above her social upbringing, facing an unwanted pregnancy in the 1960s. In France – at a time when abortion was considered a crime.
“Happening”, based on Annie Amax’s semi-autobiographical novel, is now one of three films selected by the French Oscar committee for international film nominations, Julia Ducournau’s Cannes Palme d’Or winning “Titan” and Cedric Jimenez’s “Buck Nord” ( Co-authored by Diwan). In any other year, a French Palme d’Or winner will be on shoe-in to represent the country at the Oscars, but “Happening” – which includes the latest film to win Venice’s top prize in a competition – by Jane Campion and Paolo Sorrentino – is the country’s official submission. Giving is considered a priority.
It says two of the largest indie film players in the United States, IFC Films and Film Nation, have joined forces after a rumored bidding war to acquire domestic rights to the film in a deal with CAA Media Finance and Wild Bunch.
Ariana Boko, president of IFC Films, who went to Paris on Tuesday to file a lawsuit against the film’s boss Glenn Banner in front of the French board, said she was immediately struck by “happening” because “it’s so rare that you see a young woman’s perspective without prejudice. . ”
Although it happened in the 1960s, the film could not have been more timely, especially in the United States, where conservative states like Texas are passing prohibited abortion laws. The first Supreme Court case early next year will be a challenge to Rowe Wade.
Despite the political echoes, Boko says, the film manages to move the audience about emotions rather than politics by engaging the audience with experience, on an internal level, with the protagonist going through the keys. “It’s a wonderful combination of cinema, a perfect blend of cultural, social and global moments where it affects not only American women, but also men, families and people working in the medical field,” said the executive, who remembers Christian Mungiur equally “4 months, 3 weeks and Overwhelmed by “2 Days” which is one of the first movies to be achieved for an IFC film in 2008.
Boko said IFC Films and Film Nation will create a campaign for the film at a crucial time in the awards season and play it at as many festivals as possible, starting in Chicago. Diversity Reported exclusively. “The awards season gives us an advanced platform to talk about these issues but Audrey (recently signed by CAA as a filmmaker) needs to be presented as this up-and-coming director.” In conjunction with Filmnation, IFC Films is planning a theater window at least 5 days in advance with the goal of releasing a platform that will expand to as many U.S. cities as possible.
When he began writing the film, Diwan said he was aware of Poland’s ban on abortion and was shocked when he discovered what was happening in Texas during a trip to Venice. “The more I worked on the script, the more I realized how contemporary it was, but I wanted to tell a story that happened in the past and give it a modern edge that would allow people to identify themselves with the characters today. “The challenge was to avoid anachronism and give a period film that would be mandatory,” Diwan said.
Helmer explained that he played the role of Vertolomai, firmly framed his protagonist, and was able to express bright emotions through this short dialogue. To help Vartolomei prepare for the role and to coordinate with him, Dewan gave him books and films to read and watch, as well as other books by Ernox, such as “Memoir de Phils,” “Gus van Santer’s” Elephant, “Darden Brothers”, “Rosetta,” Andrea. Arnold’s “Fish Tank,” Lazlo’s “Son of Saul,” and Agnes Verder’s “Sans Toi Ni Loi.”
The epidemic delayed the start of shooting, but it proved to be beneficial for the film as it gave Vertolomi more time to prepare for the part. “We talked every day about his characters, the books and the movies he was watching, so when the shooting started, we were on exactly the same page,” Diwan said, adding that the film also rehearsed the silence. “I gave Anamaria some dialogue that she would say to herself internally, not to say it out loud.”
“Framing was also very important to keep the audience immersed in the story and to see everything through his eyes; So the camera follows his vision and every step, “says Helmer.
The filmmaker, who began his career as a journalist and screenwriter with Jimenez’s “The Connection,” “The Man with the Iron Heart” and “The Stronghold,” said he was “proud” to be united with men, as well as women. “I’ve received a lot of feedback from men who never imagined that women would face that reality.”
Diwan, who is driven by stories with social relevance, said some of the central themes of “Happening” include women’s will, freedom and determination. She added, “I wanted to explore what it means to be a free young woman and to feel some desire and to capture it without fear or shame.”
Boko, who has achieved some of the hottest and most exciting French movies of 2020 and 2021, including Paul Verhaven’s “Benedata”, Jack O’Deard’s “Paris, the 1st District” and Mia Hansen-Love’s “Bergman Island”, are also drawn to suspense. Of the film.
“It’s never exploitative, but it puts you on the edge of your seat because this character is holding a secret; So basically, it works like a thriller, and it’s an incredibly difficult job to do on such a subject because it doesn’t distract you from anything else or hit you in the head.
The selection for France is one of the most exciting competitions for international film, the prestige and the amount of competition.
The “Titan” that opened in the US theaters has fought at the box office. This past weekend has seen an estimated 60% drop from the previous week, the worst second week percentage decline of the year so far. There are reports of 60 to 100 theaters that did not sell a ticket on any particular weekend. For comparison, Iceland’s potential Oscar-optimistic “Lamb”, which opened up a comparatively large screen, performed twice as well as its inaugural debut.
The French committee, which has added four new members to its roster, is expected to make a decision on Tuesday, October 12th. In the history of the Academy Awards’ International Features category, only nine female directors have represented France, with Deniz Gamze Ergven’s “Mustang” ending in 2015. France is also the only country to submit a film every year since the category was created in 1947. They received nominations that Most of any country, nine wins, the second with Italy 14.