While Hollywood is indignant at the Supreme Court’s decision to annul the constitutional right to abortion, guaranteed nationwide for decades, a look back at 3 films on the right to abortion more important than ever .
The federal right to terminate a pregnancy no longer exists in the United States. The Supreme Court has indeed decided, this Friday, June 24, to cancel the historic judgment Roe against Wade which recognized, since 1973, the right to abortion guaranteed throughout the territory. It is now up to each state to decide whether or not to ban the procedure to its constituents, a decision strongly condemned by Hollywood which has spoken out through its unions and production studios. La Directors Guild Foundation, SAG-AFTRA, the Writers Guild of America, IATSE (the union for film crews) and the theater artists union Actors Equity all issued statements condemning the decision which SAG-AFTRA called “ archaic and dangerous”, committing, for the most part, to take measures to combat its effects. Among them, financial aid for travel in order to have access to the procedure in a secure way. The same goes for Hollywood studios Warner Bros., Paramount, Disney, Netflix and Sony, which have announced that they will in turn focus on protecting their employees’ access to health benefits, including these trips. Production companies and representation agencies have also decided to consolidate their policies around the issue.
While the decision shocks people in the United States — and around the world — it seems even more important now to address the issue, one that the international film world has often tackled with bold acclaim. Among the many films that have talked about it, we have selected three, which are more important today than ever.
Never Rarely Sometimes Always
Autumn and her cousin Skylar are two teenage girls from rural Pennsylvania. When the first faces an unwanted pregnancy, and without any support from her family and the local community, the two young women embark on a journey full of pitfalls to New York to obtain appropriate medical care.
The British-American drama, written and directed by Eliza Hitman, is a subtle and intense work, filmed with modesty and sincerity. Staging the administrative and psychological ordeal that the termination of pregnancy in the United States represents for those who choose it, the film is a poignant portrait of a woman who does not fall into ideology, a hyperrealistic adolescent chronicle without frills or judgement. Carried by the exceptional play of its two young star actresses, Sidney Flanigan – who is making her screen debut here – and Talia Ryder, the feature film was widely praised by critics. Presented at the Sundance Film Festival, it was also selected in official competition at the Berlinale 2020 where it won the Grand Jury Prize. Never Rarely Sometimes Always is thus a pearl of cinema with a universal purpose not to be missed, created to move, make people think and shock which unfortunately resonates far too much in the news today.
In 1963 in France, Anne, a promising young student, becomes pregnant. Seeing her opportunities to complete her studies and excel elude her, she decides to have an abortion. Ready to do anything to dispose of her body and her future, she thus engages alone in a race against time and above all against the law. Meanwhile, the exams are approaching and her belly is growing…
Adaptation of the eponymous – and autobriographical – novel byAnnie Ernaux, The Event looks back on the experience of the latter when abortion was still illegal in our country in the 1960s. Directed by Audrey Diwan and carried by the revelation Anamaria Vartolomei, masterful in its sincerity, the film relies on empathy to provoke and is a real emotional shock, yet fair in its harshness. Awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2021, L’Événement is a punchy and heart-stopping film intended to make its viewer experience what its protagonist lives, and this from the inside. A visceral and moving experience to live with urgency if it is not already done.
A women’s affair
During the Occupation, Marie raised her two children with difficulty, while her husband Paul was a prisoner in Germany. She helps a neighbor terminate an unwanted pregnancy. His services quickly became his livelihood and saved his family from the misery of ration tickets. The return of Paul, embittered and weakened, contrasts with this new material comfort, while Marie dreams of another life. But Vichy France and her frustrated husband will soon ruin everything…
Adapted from the book of the same name by Francis Szpinerthe historical drama of Claude Chabrol, released in 1988, is inspired by the true story of Marie-Louise Giraud, who was guillotined on July 30, 1943 for performing 27 abortions in the Cherbourg region. With its script written with precision and its directing sober, the feature film paints the portrait of a fragile society without ever toning it down, and that of a woman, neither better nor worse than another, aspiring to more freedom, performed by a Isabelle Huppert at the top. Presented at the Venice International Film Festival, during which Isabelle Huppert received the prize for best actress, A women’s affair is a strong and gripping film with an impressive cast, also including François Cluzet and Marie Trintignantto see or see again, intensely.