Vanessa Redgrave - The grandeur of living
I am a shipwrecked woman. I've lost it all. Except for a comb, a purse, my ID, a letter from my husband and a book. I went back to the end of the theater. I couldn't remember what was left from the shipwreck. No one gave me the next object that I could need. Imposing, standing in front of the audience, Vanessa Redgrave unfolded a performance remembering one of her first roles in the acting world: “Let me give you this memory for an unforgettable moment.”
With a crowded room and a warm auditorium, eager to listen to the word of one of the most iconic actresses of international cinematography, the encounter between Vanessa Redgrave and the audience began.
“The way you welcomed her clearly shows that the wonderful woman next to me needs no introduction”, the artistic director of the Festival, Peter Scarlet, said, opening the event. Then he asked: How was your previous visit to Argentina?
“I traveled here the first time to shoot a film about the ‘disappeared’ and during the shooting I had the opportunity of meeting the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo”, commented Vanessa about the making of A Wall of Silence - Lita Stantic, 1993. And the room broke out in applause again.
It comes as no surprise, as Vanessa Redgrave, in addition to being a figure of international cinema, has a touching history and present in activism that defines her course, both professionally and at personal level. “Listening to the stories of the victims, their families, their testimonies, is very important.” She went on to announce: “Time changes very fast and people may forget to transmit to their kids what democracy is and how important it is.”
This blue-eyed woman with an infinite look hasn't stopped acting in over 60 years. And she hasn't stopped receiving awards either: the Golden Globe countless times, the Emmy Award, six nominations for the Oscar and the Supporting Actress Oscar Award for her role in Julia (Fred Zinnermann, 1977), two awards at Cannes and in many other festivals. Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams called her “the best actress of our times”. And still, she faces another challenge: to perform as a director so as to transmit her activism, her struggle for equality and to maximize her denouncing voice.
“I’m here because of my acting and because Carlo Nero and I decided to put all of our economic resources to work for the cause to tell the story of the refugees who drown in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea trying to escape”, Redgrave commented about Sea Sorrow, her debut as director.
“I don't think pain ever goes away. But it is true after some time you get close to people. At the beginning, when they would come to me and said ‘I’m sorry’, all I wanted to do was run away”, she confessed. Vanessa's life has been marked by family tragedies, which, instead of stopping her, encouraged to follow a path of social activism she expresses from her most visceral side, her artistic side.
Her first film as director, Sea Sorrow is born in a muffed scream, in a reality many times we naturalized and is denied at the political spheres. Its genesis transport us to the picture of Alan Kurdi, that immigrant boy lying dead on the shore. The shore of a merciless alien sea. It made it to the headlines only for a few days. The fury gave birth to a sensitive film that narrates, with her unmistakable and firm voice, the crisis of the immigration and its causes: persecution, hunger and armed conflicts. Through archive material and childhood anecdotes from the Second World War, Sea Sorrow proposes an historical look that approaches history as the result of the challenges the present poses.
About her long career, he confessed “working with Antonioni was one of the best gifts life gave me”. She added that one of the roles she's most proud of is the one in the film her son, Carlo Nero, made, The Fever (2004) “It's a story told by a woman who discovers, in a trip, a very far country which is part of a very corrupted part of society”, Redgrave explained regarding the story written by American writer and actor Wallace Shawn.
In the 140 films she took part in as an actress, Vanessa balanced her participation between big productions, classics, mainstream movies and, of course, her unforgettable performance in theater. From the amazing Jane in Blow-Up to Max in Mission: Impossible. From Guenevere in Camelot, to Isadora Duncan in Isadora, she knew exactly how to leave her mark to each character and establish as one of the most renowned British actresses of the world.
“I started acting when I was four. We would to it to raise money for the Merchant Marine I didn't know how to read and I had to memorize the lines. Let me give you this memory for an unforgettable moment.” I am a shipwrecked woman. I've lost it all. Except for a comb, a purse, mi ID, a letter from my husband and a book. I went back to the end of the theater. I couldn't remember what was left from the shipwreck. No one gave me the next object that I could need. She confessed how that first incursion ended. “The boy stopped the play and said: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, let's start from the beginning. Vanessa has ruined it all’”.
The talk was an encounter with the sensitivity and the sharp look of a woman who has reinvented herself through the years. One of the stellar participations of this edition! Vanessa Redgrave will be presenting her first film as director, Sea Sorrow. Additionally, the Festival will screen the restored version of Blow-Up, -Michelangelo Antonioni's touching film- where she shines in one of her most memorable performances.