before the Veil law of 1975, the reinvention of a woman in the fight for the right to abortion


With its vintage colors and cheerful mood, Annie Anger, by Blandine Lenoir, revisits a deeply political and contemporary struggle: activism for the right to abortion, before its legalization in France in 1975, within the Movement for the Freedom of Abortion and Contraception (MLAC). Created in 1973 by militant doctors and feminist collectives, the MLAC practiced disobedience and organized clandestine abortions using a new method, called “Karman”, more painless and easier to teach – consisting in sucking the contents of the uterus using a cannula.

A highly topical film, while the right to abortion regularly makes headlines. The subject remains passionate, when it comes to strengthening this right or when, on the contrary, it is mistreated, which is currently the case, particularly in the United States, the Supreme Court having decided, the June 24, to put down the Roe judgment vs. Wade who authorized the use of abortion throughout the country – now it is up to the American states to legislate. Sign of the ambient concern, in France, the deputies have just adopted, Thursday, November 24, in first reading, a bill aiming to include the right to abortion in the Constitution.

Annie Anger hooks us to an endearing heroine, Annie (Laure Calamy), a worker in a mattress factory, a metaphor for married life at the time when the contraceptive pill, although legalized since 1967, was not self-evident. Married, pregnant with a second unwanted child, Annie ends up tiptoeing into an MLAC branch… Literally transformed, Laure Calamy puts herself in the shoes of an almost self-effacing, shy woman, coming out of her milieu and almost astonished at his audacity. Annie discovers a second family at MLAC, develops medical skills in contact with committed men and women, and takes off from the family home, no offense to her husband (Yannick Choirat, also a theater actor).

To feel useful

A small spark comes to change everything inside the character. Annie shines in her eyes a political joy, that of feeling useful. No one knows, but she has just made her revolution. Tight in her little red coat, Laure Calamy teleports us back nearly fifty years, to a France a little less icy for women’s rights than when Annie Ernaux was desperately seeking an abortion, the winter of 1964, an ordeal that she chronicled in The Event (Gallimard, 2000) – adapted for the screen by Audrey Diwan, her eponymous feature film having won the Golden Lion at Venice in 2021.

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