‘Happening’, a film about illegal abortions in 1960s France secured the top prize at the Venice Film Festival. Directed by Audrey Diwan it revolves around a  woman wanting a termination in order to continue to study.

“I did this movie with anger, with desire, with my belly, my guts, my heart and my head,” Diwan said while accepting the award. This comes as the 78th edition of Venice Film Festival took place on Saturday night, witnessing international celebrities gracing the red carpet. 

The ceremony was unlike the last year’s when masks were mandatory and close to half of the seats on the Lido waterfront were left unoccupied due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Following the controversial abortion law in Texas, this film touches upon just the right spots. 

‘Happening’ is based on an autobiographical novel by Annie Ernaux and portrays a young relentless woman wanting to terminate her pregnancy to be able to continue her studies, despite threat to her life and risk of being imprisoned. 

Interestingly, Parasite director Bong Joon-Ho led the jury that selected the award. 

Italian filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino’s ‘The Hand of God’ won the second prize of the Silver Lion. It is a film about his youth in Naples. 

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Benedict Cumberbatch starrer ‘The Power of the Dog’ brought the best director award to New Zealand’s Jane Campion, among other awards to women filmmakers.  Furthermore, Maggie Gyllenhaal was awarded the best screenplay prize for The Lost Daughter, featuring Olivia Colman.

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Penelope Cruz took home the best actress award for her role in Parallel Mothers, directed by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. Best Actor was won by Filipino actor John Arcilla for his role in crime thriller On the Job: The Missing 8.

Nomadland took the top prize last year. It is a film about a widow spending her life as a nomad following the 2008 financial crisis.