An award-winning new drama tells the searing story of a young woman’s quest for an illegal abortion in 1960s France. Its director and the writer on whose autobiography it is based explain why the subject is still important
Sun 3 Apr 2022
In a library, in France, in the 1960s, a young woman glances over her shoulder before opening a textbook to inspect a cross-section of a pregnant female body. A succession of nested U shapes show the way the uterus expands as the foetus grows. The foetus looks like a lima bean with legs. Someone comes; the young woman shields the book from view.
“Before you could ask questions on the internet, everything that happened inside the body was a mystery,” says Audrey Diwan, the director of the film Happening, in which this scene appears early on. “Something is taking place inside her body, her body is doing this work, but she doesn’t understand anything about it.”