Screened as part of NZIFF 2021

Happening 2021


Directed by Audrey Diwan Spotlight

Winner of the Golden Lion for Best Film at the 2021 Venice International Film Festival, Happening is a powerful and timely abortion drama, executed precisely by director Audrey Diwan.

Nov 17

Lumière Cinemas (Bernhardt)

Nov 18

Isaac Theatre Royal

Nov 20

Lumière Cinemas (Bernhardt)

France In French with English subtitles
100 minutes DCP




Anamaria Vartolomei
Kacey Mottet Klein
Luàna Bajrami
Louise Orry-Diquero
Louise Chevillotte
Pio Marmaï
Sandrine Bonnaire
Anna Mouglalis
Leonor Oberson
Fabrizio Rongione


Edouard Weil
Alice Girard


Audrey Diwan
Marcia Romano
Anne Berest. Based on the novel by Annie Ernaux


Laurent Tangy


Géraldine Mangenot


Evgueni Galperine
Sacha Galperine


Venice 2021


Best Film, Venice International Film Festival 2021


Happening documents one woman’s efforts to arrange a termination and thereby continue with her studies. Adapted from Annie Ernaux’s autobiographical novel, the film plays its private trauma as a harrowing thriller, and showcases a superb performance from Anamaria Vartolomei as Anne Duchesne, the agonised student in the spotlight. We meet her spineless boyfriend only briefly; the man is all but incidental. Anne has to go through this ordeal on her own.

It’s April 1963. Abortion is illegal and means a prison term if you’re lucky, death if you’re not. But Anne’s period is now five weeks late and she’s increasingly desperate: failing her studies, too scared to confide in her friends. A supposedly sympathetic doctor prescribes a drug he assures her will induce a miscarriage but is in fact designed to further strengthen the foetus. Director Audrey Diwan keeps the camera in close as Anne pinwheels between cafes and the classes; the family home and the dorm. She’d love a child at some point but she wants a life and career first. The picture’s tight framing is like a noose around her neck...

Time is running out; Anne is nearly three months along. Outside the halls of residence, it’s the time of rock’n’roll and the nouvelle vague. But Happening depicts a France still eerily coloured by Nazi occupation, where the trade in illegal abortion has become the new army in the shadows, arranged via code names and whispered meetings in the park... It’s a serious, gripping and finally honourable film.” — Xan Brooks, The Guardian