2021 as seen by Audrey Diwan: “Surviving the silence” – Les Inrocks

Winner of the Golden Lion at the last Venice Film Festival for her adaptation of The Event by Annie Ernaux, the filmmaker tells us about her year, between strong emotions of recognition and cultural pleasures.


“The film was hardly shown before the Venice Film Festival. I remember that after the screening there was total silence for a few seconds. In that time, I told myself that maybe the trip was not possible, that no one had come along with the character because he was too hard. Afterwards, people started to applaud and I felt a great relief! I then measured that the film was received as I hoped.

My fear that the staging immersion strategy cancels out the point of view has dissipated. I finally have the impression that the 1.66 format, used like that, brings out the off-screen and leaves the possibility of making the beyond exist. The frame is no longer a prison which encloses the spectator, but allows an interrogation on the political, social context, the fear… These are things about which one spoke a lot with Annie Ernaux.

Read also : Audrey Diwan: “I was struck by the strength of the culture of shame in which we still live today”


During the time of writing, she agreed to read several versions. His goal was not to bring me back to his book. She told me right away: ‘I understand what an adaptation is.’ But she was concerned that everything was fair. When the adaptation biases, sometimes on a line, did not seem right to her, she would tell me. When I showed him the movie, I walked into the room ten minutes before the end and felt terrible. At the end of the movie, she didn’t say anything for a while.

I now know that my ordeal with The Event, it is to survive the silence! I have to learn to live the few seconds after when the spectators are silent. Then she said to me: ‘It’s just.’ Then she sent me a letter as much dedicated to me as to the film to unravel her feelings and tell me about Anamaria [Vartolomei]. She told me that she found herself in this young woman, and that was as important to me as it was to her.

Tendency ?

When I left the stage after the Golden Lion presentation, I spoke at length with Jane Campion and Chloé Zhao. Both wanted to spare me for what might happen next. That is, how well everyone was going to relate what had happened to my gender. They wanted to warn me, tell me about what they had been through.

Jane Campion has a very hard history with the Palme d’Or. And, indeed, I was then asked a lot about this ‘trend’ of rewarding films by female directors by drawing a parallel with the Palme d’Or of Titanium. It is a bit of a part of his identity that we leave there, the merit of the film passing to the background in favor of the analysis of society.


I have the feeling that I had to make my way in stages. When you start to make films, you question the amount of freedom that we are going to give you. This freedom, I had to gain it. On my first film, I wouldn’t have been allowed to be more radical: because I hadn’t done anything before, because I wrote films for other directors with no obvious connection to what I wanted to do, because that I followed an atypical journey between writing and journalism …

I had to conquer the right to do more and differently. On The Event, I told my producer, Édouard Weil, that I wanted to go to a cinema closer to what I want to do, and, frankly, he gave me complete freedom.

Signs of hope

We hear a lot of rather pessimistic speeches on the frequentation of author’s cinema since the reopening of theaters. But we can also choose to hang on to encouraging signals. A very strong film like Tehran Law [de Saeed Roustayi] really met his audience. The people of Wild Bunch [société de production et de distribution de films] told me they were very happy with the career of Summit of the gods [de Patrick Imbert]. Drive My Car [de Ryusuke Hamaguchi], which unfortunately I haven’t seen yet, works very well. Julie (in 12 chapters) [de Joachim Trier], that I like a lot, also scores very well. I think there is no need to despair at all. When I go to art house, I even have the feeling of meeting a new, rejuvenated audience.


This year, I really liked Ahed’s Knee by Nadav Lapid, who extends the gesture of his previous one, Synonyms. His magnificent anger and this mixture of politics and poetry impress me. I was also very touched by Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi in The divide [de Catherine Corsini]. It’s so demonstrative, the opposite of what I like in general, and yet I adored her in this role. And then I was very marked by the return of Sparks and the hit ofAnnette, We Love Each Other So Much. I kept it in mind as the desperate hymn of an egocentric couple who know they are incapable of loving.


I really liked Maria Pourchet’s novel, Fire, which is really quite amazing. Teddy Lussi-Modeste, with whom I am writing his next film, introduced me to a very strong text entitled Wrath and Time scored by Peter Sloterdijk. It is a reflection on anger throughout history. I read a lot, but not necessarily what has just been released. This year I loved it Hold on tight to your crown by Yannick Haenel. There, I really want to read the new Pierric Bailly [Le Roman de Jim]. And Struggles and metamorphoses of a woman [d’Édouard Louis] I was very touched by this way of painting its reality as a painting to which the artist would return, layer after layer, without finishing it. ”

The eventt by Audrey Diwan, with Anamaria Vartolomei, Kacey Mottet Klein, Luàna Bajrami (Fr., 2021, 1 h 40). In theaters since November 24.

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2021 as seen by Audrey Diwan: “Surviving the silence” – Les Inrocks