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Simone Veil, the conservative who approved the abortion law in France and is now blowing up the box office

Since 1985, the Spanish right has voted against abortion. In that case, the woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy was recognized in three cases. The PP brought the law to the Constitutional Court and tried not to approve it under any circumstances. Since then he has always opposed any extension of this right. Their resistance was accompanied by insults, demonstrations in defense of the family and even harassment of women outside abortion clinics.

Perhaps for this reason, it is more surprising to see how closely, in France, it was a conservative woman who pushed, fought and won the approval of the abortion law, which in 1975 decriminalized a practice that had endangered many women for decades and forced them. do it underground; As Annie Erno said in her book The Event, and it was seen in the 2021 Golden Lion-winner Audrey Divan’s excellent film adaptation. A woman who has dated every man on the right, including almost everyone in her party. Government, was Simon Weil. She was the health minister in Chirac’s government and she was the one who defended in front of hundreds of men in parliament the law for which she was insulted and harassed, but which every French woman now considers one of her most important moments. Feminism in its own country. It ended the battle waged for years by French feminists such as Simone de Beauvoir or Nicole Muchnik, the widow of the editor who died this year.

Erno himself admits this in his book “The Years”, where he reviews his entire intimate life and connects it with the political events of the last century in Europe. She never imagined that it would be her, a Conservative government minister, who would put an end to the dark alleys where a woman could lose her life. The silence is over, the power to go to jail for it. “A disease that affects only women”, as the writer says about his experience in his text.

The achievement of Veil, which died in 2017, lives on and has brought the French together again. He did it around the movie screen. A biopic about his life, which opens in Spanish cinemas this Friday, is the highest-grossing French film of the year. It has already surpassed two million viewers and remains the second most watched. An incredible success in a difficult time for the theater. Simone, Woman of the Century begins towards the end, with Weil’s law enforcement, assaulting and harassing her. They compared him to the Nazis, ignoring that he himself was a Holocaust survivor. Babies were given heartbeats, called murderers…a practice that can still be seen decades later.

The person responsible for the film is Olivier Dahan, the director of La vie en rose, another biographical film about the unforgettable French figure, Edith Piaf, but the promoter of the project is her heroine, Elsa Zilberstein, who is the producer and becomes Veil. He met the politician in 2008 when he presented an award in Paris. He was impressed and Weil invited him to his home for dinner. A relationship began, in which they saw each other several times. After each meeting, the actor always thought: “You should make a movie about him.”

There was a problem, and that is that Zilberstein found him too difficult to make a film with. When he died, they thought it was time to express the value of his figure through cinema and began to look for a director. He quickly suggested to Dahan. After three hours of ideas and discussions, he said yes and started writing the script. All in all, “Ten Years of Pregnancy,” which has now materialized into the most successful French film of the year, despite dealing with such a dry topic as abortion.

The film comes at a time when abortion rights are advancing in Latin American countries and declining in other countries such as the US or Poland. The film was supposed to be released last February, but the distributor preferred to push it until October, and “it all happened in the summer,” says Zilberstein, who also mentions Spain as one of the countries where they’re trying to take a step back in that direction. in relation to It is sad that “nothing has been learned after so many generations” and it is clear that “we still have to fight.” “We’re seeing the return of totalitarianism, fascism. This is no longer a period film, we’re talking about the present. With all the struggles he’s had, against totalitarianism, against injustice, fighting for his dignity… I’ve never wanted to speak for him, but I wonder what He would say now,” says the actor.

There were only nine women in that vote compared to 481 men, many of whom lashed out at Simone Weil, who was the scapegoat who stood up to the macho attacks. However, women across France, both conservative and progressive, praised her courage, making her a crossover phenomenon. “To me, she’s not a politician, in the sense that she’s not like the political men we see today. She wasn’t attached to power. She’s a woman who really fought on the left,” says Zilberstein, who emphasizes. The film says how her acting style was shaped by her experience in a concentration camp: “She’s driven by what happened. She’s an incredible model of resilience. A model of life. She’s a woman who comes out of hell but has faith in humanity.”

The idea of ​​this biography is also to show the “woman under the bow”. Show the person the strength they have shown in public. “Everyone told me that he was very strict, but I asked him what it was like when he was cutting his hair, what was happening at home when he left the parliament, what was behind the armor, whether there were tears, whether there was weakness. The success of this film also breaks the belief that people need entertainment after the pandemic, going to the cinema to see light comedies, which connects them to reality. Elsa Zilberstein is clear that “people need the truth” and feels it. It’s a common emotion in the cinema, because people want it, they don’t want nonsense.”

Source: El Diario





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