Friends of Ragtag,
Hi, it’s Arin, RFS Co-Custodian. I’m happy you’re here, engaging with and supporting our beloved arthouse. I wanted to visit with you in this virtual space this week to share my thoughts about a poignant and particularly timely film opening at the Cinema on Friday. One of the things I love about cinema—especially the communal experience of cinema—is how it offers us the space to grapple with and process powerful emotions together. Whether real or constructed, documentary and fiction narratives alike invite you to reflect on the experiences, challenges, and motivations of the characters featured on screen.
In Audrey Diwan’s new film Happening, a young woman is determined that no matter the cost, an unintended pregnancy will not be the end of her goals, her resources, or her potential. This story happens to take place in 1963, in France, but replace the date and location and you’ve got the experience of many, many uterus-having people across the world. Including myself.
In 1963 France, abortion wasn’t legal and wouldn’t be for another 12 years. In 2018, in mid-Missouri, it was legal but not without hurdles. I was 8 weeks pregnant when I confirmed my second pregnancy. I wanted a medical abortion, which wasn’t available locally. I had to drive from Columbia to Kansas City, Kansas, to find care. I had job security, flexibility, and financial stability, not to mention a partner with those same things who could travel with me. That’s certainly not the case for many in that situation. It was still a difficult choice and a difficult process—but it was one I got to make for myself.
While everyone’s experience with abortion is different, there is so much that is universal. To create space to process the thoughts and feelings that Happening evokes, Ragtag is hosting a guided community conversation next Monday, May 23rd following the 6:50pm screening. Admission for that evening will be on a pay-what-you-can scale, so I hope you’ll be able to join us and allow the shared experience of cinema to help us process together the devastating fact that Roe v. Wade may not see 50.