We should all fly less

Emma is actively involved to defend the environment but in April 2019 she was lambasted for her decision to fly from the US to attend a climate change protest in central London.

When the interviewer asked if she was prepared for all the criticism and accusations of being a hypocrite se said: “I may well be hypocritical by flying but I’m conscious of flying so I fly much less, but sometimes I have to when I’m working. But I’ll continue to find ways to get to places without flying”.

I think they’ve been looking for a pretext to discredit her activism because that clearly annoys someone in high places.

Emma Thompson

Emma with Aurora outside Shell HQ

In September 2015 Emma Thompson joined a group of 64 Greenpeace activists and a double decker bus-sized model of a polar bear as they tried to stop Shell drilling for oil in the Arctic. The paw carried the names of thousands of people who stand for Arctic.

They placed the giant bear outside Shell’s HQ in London.

Emma broke a legal injunction aimed at stopping Greenpeace activists from crossing a line drawn around the South Bank Building saying: “I feel that they long ago crossed a very big line by going into the Arctic so until they back off I’ll cross their line whenever I want”.

“Shell haven’t been listening. Shell have ignored the science. They want to drill in the Arctic up to the year 2030. It seems to me a monumental act of selfishness and greed. We cannot go on extracting oil in the way that we have” she said.

Standing next to Aurora, the giant polar bear, which roared at intervals after the northern lights, Emma Thompson read out a poem she had written specifically for the protests.

After the protests Shell decided to pull out of drilling in the Arctic saying that they ceased exploration in the region after failing to find sufficient signs of oil and gas but the truth is that Shell had suffered huge reputation damage with protests around the world.

Greenpeace said more than seven million people signed up to the Save The Arctic campaign worldwide, so the company abandoned drilling in the Arctic.

Emma reads “Kindness”

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The ever glorious and wonderful Emma Thompson reads “Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye. Emma would like to dedicate this poem to our future selves, who we will be after this pandemic. What a glorious sentiment that is, filled to the brim with hope. What we need, what we always need, most. Here is the prescription as written in @thepoetrypharmacy @thepoetryremedy. Condition: Need for Kindness There are times in life when everything we thought we could rely on fails, and everything we have wanted for ourselves dissolves in front of us. There are times, also, when we are confronted with the same suffering in others. Faced with the sheer scale of the misery of the world, it can be agonizingly difficult to engage meaningfully- and all too tempting simply to harden our hearts against it. Yet, as Naomi Shihab Nye tells us in this inspiring poem, those moments- hard as they are- are also an opportunity, if we will only dare to open our hearts. For it is only by reckoning with true sorrow and desolation that we can come to understand exactly how necessary, how life-preserving, kindess really is, and then move towards it. First, however, we must learn true empathy. ‘Kindness’, after all, is just another word for love- and once we’ve acknowledged that the pain of others is exactly as searing as our own, what can we do but love them? What can we do but try to ease their burden? As Nye so wonderfully suggests, nothing else makes sense. This is a challenge. Even at our lowest points, we must not ignore the suffering of others: we must not allow the solipsism of personal misery to cut us off from the great cloth of human feeling. Yet it is also a consolation: if we reject that isolation, we can take comfort in knowing that whatever loss lays us bare will also bring us into the presence of kindness. By looking pain in the eye, we can find the kindness needed to reach out not only to others, but to ourselves, as well. It will tie our shoes for us; it will lead us back into the world when everything else has abandoned us. So gaze unflinchingly into the bright light of loss, and let kindness be unleashed from you like a soothing shadow. Big Thank you Big Em! 🥰🕊🙌

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Private Lives on Zoom

I just witnessed the magnificent live performance of Private Lives on the Zoom platform.

Emma is always convincing and exciting but the other actors have also been up to par.

It is not easy to act remotely through a video chat.

Congratulations on the commendable initiative which I hope will be repeated in the future.

Emma Thompson – Private Lives on Zoom

Emma Thompson and…

Fionn Whitehead!

Fionn Whitehead

Emma and Fionn Whitehead have said that they formed a special bond while filming the movie The Children Act.

The dynamic about and between Emma Thompson and Fionn Whitehead constitutes the film’s intensity. She plays an irreproachable but yet very human judge who sees her life intertwined with a very involving judicial case concerning a young Jeovah’s witness who refuses blood transfusion. He feels a strong attraction to her because she listens to him, she represents the outside world, made of questions, music and poetry. She introduces him to Yeats poems and he likes being young and foolish.

Whitehead shares his admiration for Thompson. “She’s a lovely human being and a safe pair of hands,” he tells “I felt so comfortable around her and we got along like a house on fire. Both the book and the film are at the most basic level about human connection. That was the easiest thing to do with Emma because she’s so giving and open.”

“Every scene we had felt like it had an incredibly high level of distress and emotion, plus a lot never felt like they had a definite ending. But it was made so much easier by having Emma around – she was so loving and kind. It was really great to be able to talk to her openly and chat and joke around and everything to defuse the tension at the end of the day”.

Before we started, we did a few rehearsals and got a bit of time to hang out and chat. I went to her house and she made me breakfast one day with Richard Eyre. That was really amazing, just to be able to get to know each other before we stepped on set. I always think that the more you know someone, the better you’ll be able to act together. We talked about the script, talked about the role but we also told each other how we were and had some food together. I couldn’t have asked for more from her – on or off set.”

Tilda Swinton honored by the Venice Film Festival

Tilda Swinton – Golden Lion

British actor Tilda Swinton has been honored by the 2020 Venice Film Festival with Golden Lion for career achievement.

During her acceptance speech the actress referred to Venice as “the most venerable and majestic film festival on Earth” and then she said “It’s so great to see those cruise ships gone” referring to the battle of the environmentalists against the passage of the polluting great ships in the lagoon of Venice.

Tilda Swinton against cruise ships in Venice

Unexpectedly the Rai Tv censored this part of the speech not including it in the Italian subtitles, but I’m convinced that she decided to say it at the last moment, therefore the direction was not in possession of that part of the speech.

Some things are good to keep hidden to the last to avoid that someone prevents us from expressing our point of view on a very important issue.

Tilda Swinton and Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson, who recently became citizen of Venice, has always fought against the shameful income of cruise ships in Venice.

Emma speaks Italian

Emma speaks Italian against the cruise ships in Venice.

“Sto con i cittadini di Venezia perché il ritorno delle maxi navi è impensabile”.

“I’m with the citizens of Venice because the return of the maxi ships is unthinkable”.

Dolittle (2020)

Besides being an actress, Emma is also a dubber. On Dolittle she voices a nice macaw.

Doctor Dolittle is famous for his ability to talk to animals, taught precisely by his parrot friend Polynesia, voiced by Emma Thompson.

Robert Downey jr and Emma Thompson

Polynesia (Poly for short), serves as Dolittle’s most trusted advisor and confidant.

Differences and similarities between The remains of the day and Downtown Abbey

Becoming servants was the only way out to redeem a life of poverty and people who lived downstairs wanted to improve their working position.

“Downstairs” there was a world teeming with hope, jealousy, strife, dedication to work, sufferings and small joys.

Sometimes the servants got married and left the house. For the butler and the housekeeper, instead, it was difficult (if not impossible) to make a life outside work because they were the highest servants in rank, they were perpetually committed of service to their employers and they had many responsibilities, also over other staff such as training new staff members, organising the staff schedule, and hiring or firing the underservants. So almost always they retired without ever getting married.

Mr Stevens is the quintessence of the perfect butler and he never really gives Miss Kenton’s love a chance. Their relationship is so frustrating and every time she tries to start a romantic conversation with him, he systematically brings the conversation back to a professional level. The sweet fondness between Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes of Downton Abbey brings to mind the story of Mr Stevens and Miss Kenton so I’m sure that their relationship is inspired by The Remains of the day.

Unlike Mr Stevens and Miss Kenton, Mr Carson and Mrs Hughes choose to give themselves a chance perhaps because they are older and on the threshold of retirement, maybe because they fear the prospect of facing old age in solitude. Anyway the decide to get married.

But the relationship (emotional and professional) between the butler and the housekeeper is not the only similarities between “The remains of the day” and “Downton Abbey”. Many scenes are inspired by “The remains of the day”, starting with the butler who irons the newspaper, the table set using the measuring tape and another pivotal scene in which we see Carson mirroring himself in the tray as Stevens did stealthily.

There is another scene borrowed from “The remains of the day” which concerns two other characters: Edith on her bicycle makes us immediately think about the arrival of Miss Kenton at Darlington Hall, both bikes are black and have a basket on the handlebars and the two women are both wearing hat and black gloves, although some details in the clothing show us the different social class of the two.

But if “The remains of the day” has highlighted Steven’s blind fidelity to Lord Darlington showing the incommunicability between the servants and the lords, divided as two different worlds, “Downton Abbey” focuses on two worlds that often communicate and sometimes meet, it shows the analogies between the servants and the nobles facing love and life problems, and gives everyone the chance for redemption and the hope and the possibility of a better life.