Audrey Diwan Wins Venice Film Festival’s Top Prize with Abortion Drama “L’Evénement” (“Happening”)

It’s a wrap on the 2021 Venice International Film Festival and there’s plenty to celebrate. Audrey Diwan became the six woman director to claim Venice’s top prize in the fest’s 78-year history. She landed the Golden Lion for “L’Evénement” (“Happening”), an abortion drama set in 1964. “I did this movie with anger,” Diwan emphasized. “I did it with desire, also my heart and my head. I wanted ‘Happening’ to be an experience, a journey in the skin of this young woman.” Chloé Zhao took home the Golden Lion last year for Frances McDormand-starrer “Nomadland.”

Other big winners included Jane Campion and Maggie Gyllenhaal. The former received the Silver Lion for Best Director and the latter landed Best Screenplay. Campion was recognized for “The Power of the Dog,” her first feature in over a decade, a Western about two brothers and a local widow living on a Montana ranch, and Gyllenhaal for Elena Ferrante adaptation “The Lost Daughter.”

Venice is just the latest fest to see women filmmakers taking home major prizes. Julia Ducournau received Cannes’ most prestigious honor, the Palme d’Or, for revenge thriller “Titane,” making her the second woman director to win the award. Sian Heder’s “CODA,” a coming-of-age drama about an aspiring singer who is the only hearing member of a Deaf family, made history as the first film to win all three top U.S. Dramatic honors at Sundance Film Festival.

Head over to Deadline to check out a complete list of Venice’s winners.


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