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Sundance Film Festival 2002, Day and Night 5

The Double Feature. When I came across this still from the exceptional L’événement (Happening), I had a gut reaction, which was also the reaction of my mother and myself to the film (“I felt that viscerally” she said as the credits rolled). The film is an unflinching look at a young woman in France who is desperate to procure an illegal abortion in the 60s so that she can have a life, go to university, and have autonomy. Yesterday was the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and next year should be it’s 50th anniversary. But we might not see it. Let that sink in. After watching this film, I felt firmly that those that oppose safe and legal abortion, whatever their reasons may be, should HAVE to watch this film. It is a stark, realistic, and brutal, but ultimately beautiful film about the importance of having access to safe and legal abortion - where women are left with agency over their own bodies, and what they can achieve if given that agency, whatever THEY decide. The image here could also be representative of the film, Sharp Stick, even though it isn’t literally, the new film from Lena Dunham about another young woman making her way in the world and having to find herself. Partway into the film, I was honestly not sure if this was going to be the one film that you usually come across at a festival that maybe you don’t connect with as much as others, but unsurprisingly, the turn came. I’ve always admired Lena Dunham, but this work feels different, like she’s sluffing away whatever people think of her and beginning to stop caring about what the reaction will be and just going, “fuck it, I’m an artist. This is my work. This is me.” Two great films. Two important ideas. Don’t care what people think and figure out what you need to do. It’s your life and it’s nobody else’s.

From January 25th, 2022

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