Abortion in French cinema during the long 1960s and beyond

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    Embargo yn dod i ben: 23/06/25


This article examines the representation of abortion in French cinema during one of the most pivotal periods for women’s rights and lives—the ‘long’ 1960s (1959–1973), one caught between post- war conservatism and the more tangible feminism of the mid-1970s. Using a feminist and sociocultural approach alongside statistical analysis of all 1,455 French-produced feature films released during this period and textual analysis of case-study films, we examine various aspects of abortion, including representation of the decision process, the procedure itself and the aftermath, alongside physical and emotional aspects. Before the long 1960s, films primarily represented abortions as a taboo: dangerous, violent, and often resulting in death. This reinforced stigma, fear and misunderstanding surrounding the procedure, although films like Claude Autant-Lara’s Une femme en blanc series (1965 and 1966), Mon amour, mon amour (Nadine Trintignant, 1967) and Avortement clandestin! (Pierre Chevalier, 1973) worked to challenge these stereotypes. We look beyond the long 1960s to filmmaking in the direct aftermath of Loi Veil before concluding with a discussion of recent French television series. This paper mitigates a gap in current scholarship by unpacking the representation of abortion in French popular media, a woefully understudied but critical subject — essential for understanding the status of women’s reproductive rights in France


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