Vanessa Redgrave was in Palma on Saturday.

After a decades-long career in acting, Europe’s refugee crisis has been the catalyst for Oscar winner Vanessa Redgrave to make her directorial debut. Redgrave spoke in Palma yesterday about Sea Sorrow, which she said she and her producer son Carlo Nero have poured all their money into and will be screened in Ses Voltes tonight.

“Life doesn’t plan itself like that and I certainly didn’t plan my life like that,” she said. “I didn’t plan that there’d be this awful situation in which our European governments, just to start the story off, breaking the Geneva conventions on the protection on the human rights of refugees,” she said and what prompted her to make the film was the image of child refugee Aylan Kurdi washed up dead on the beach. “Seeing that little boy, made me think we’ve gone somewhere special, we’ve gone somewhere horrendous, we’ve gone a step further - we being the European governments and us being all of Europe - in refusing protection for refugees.”

“We’ve spent every penny we’ve got making it so it’ll be wonderful if we’ve got a few little sales,” she said.
The first screening was at the Cannes Film Festival. “But the sale part isn’t the important thing, the important thing is that we share what we’ve seen and what we’ve made with as many people as possible everywhere in the world.” “People talk about preaching to the converted which is total codswallop rubbish. There is no such thing as being converted forever, absolutely no such thing,” she said “You can get numbed, people can get hardened, it’s not their fault, they just get hardened, news media get hardened, proprietors get even harder.
“So it’s a film to keep the heart and the brain warm and responsive and thinking, that’s what we’ve tried to do, ” the actress once voted the ninth best actress in the world said.

The film, which features Emma Thompson and Ralph Fiennes, will be presented by award winning Spanish film director Isabel Coixet and the screening starts at 9.30pm and will be followed by a talk between the two film directors.

With regards to the film, the element of perspective is central to Redgrave’s message from the start, and only grows increasingly more so as she begins to contextualise this current exodus in the greater history of humanitarian crises.

The root of the issue, she argues in no uncertain terms, can be traced back to how easy it is for someone to lose sight of their good fortune, to how even the children or grandchildren of refugees so often lack the empathy required to open their borders and provide a home for those in need.

The film’s title, taken from one of Prospero’s monologues in The Tempest (and performed here by Ralph Fiennes), reminds us that even the duke of Milan could be reduced to a man who survived certain death by floating on the “rotten carcass” of a boat.

Most of all, the film’s macro perspective makes a compelling case that human rights need to be reaffirmed as often as they’re threatened, and that Europe’s handling of this crisis will do nothing less than set the tone for the soul of the 21st century.

Vanessa Redgrave, CBE has not only made her name as an actress of stage, screen and television, but as well as a political activist. She is a 2003 American Theatre Hall of Fame inductee, and received the 2010 BAFTA Fellowship.

Redgrave rose to prominence in 1961 playing Rosalind in As You Like It with the Royal Shakespeare Company and has since starred in more than 35 productions in London’s West End and on Broadway, winning the 1984 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Revival for The Aspern Papers, and the 2003 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the revival of Long Day’s Journey into Night. She also received Tony nominations for The Year of Magical Thinking and Driving Miss Daisy.

On screen, she has starred in scores of films and is a six-time Oscar nominee, winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the title role in the film Julia (1977). Her other nominations were for Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966), Isadora (1968), Mary, Queen of Scots (1971), The Bostonians (1984) and Howards End (1992). Among her other films are A Man for All Seasons (1966), Blowup (1966), Camelot (1967), The Devils (1971), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), Prick Up Your Ears (1987), Mission: Impossible (1996), Atonement (2007), Coriolanus (2011) and The Butler (2013).Redgrave was proclaimed by Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams as “the greatest living actress of our times”, and has won the Oscar, Emmy, Tony, BAFTA, Olivier, Cannes, Golden Globe, and the Screen Actors Guild awards.