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Jane Fonda Inspires a Room Full of Young People During the 76th Cannes Film Festival

Jane Fonda was one of the special guests at the 76th edition of the Cannes Film Festival. Not only did the iconic actress and producer deliver the Palme d’Or during the closing ceremony, she also participated in an one hour and a half Q&A with avid festival-goers eager to learn more from this Hollywood living legend. Even though there were many questions about Fonda’s movie career, the answers would mostly get steered in the direction of her work as an activist and how important that work has been to keep a balanced life during her years of fame and recognition.


“I have been able to keep up with Hollywood, because I always cared about other things,” she said. “My career as an actress was never my priority. If it had been, I would have never left America to come to France. Activism gave me a life. Before that, I was miserable. We need meaning in our lives. I did not have that before being an activist.”

Fonda continued by stating that it was actually during her stay in Paris, while married to Roger Vadim (the marriage lasted from 1965 to 1972), that she felt a calling to become an activist. “I became an activist during the Vietnam war. I had just done Barbarella. A group of resistor soldiers, who needed financial help, found me. They started telling me about what was really happening in Vietnam. I could not believe it. I had always thought that when Americans fight, it would always be on the side of the angels. I was stunned. They gave me a book, “The Village of Ben Suc”, and when I finished reading it, I was a different person. From that moment I knew I had to leave Vadim and go back to the USA. I could not be against the war while living in France. I needed to be in America. That’s when I became an activist and got arrested a lot.”

She eventually got back to the USA and became an organizer. However, whenever she was with other fellow activists/workers, she felt her celebrity status kept her apart. Fonda considered quitting the movie business to commit herself fully to the causes she believed in. It was Ken Cockrel, the founder of the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, who changed her mind. He convinced the actress that the movement was full of organizers, but had no Hollywood stars. Stardom was an asset they needed and didn’t have. He told Fonda not only not to quit acting, but also to pay more attention to the kind of movies she was making. That’s when Fonda decided to do the movie Coming Home, about the Vietnam war.

When asked about future movie projects, Fonda said she had none so far.

“I am almost 86 years old and I can’t believe I am still working. This past year I did two movies, both with other three old women. I did 80 For Brady and Book Club 2. I don’t want to do those anymore. I want to do things that challenge me as an actor. However, we have a big Presidential election next year. For the next year and a half I will be focusing on that. I am not going to act. I have no projects apart from confronting the climate crisis.”

Fonda believes that protest is not enough to fight the climate crisis. She is adamant that climate champions and leaders need to take power for something meaningful to be done before our species gets endangered. The actress has just founded the Jane Fonda Climate Pack with the object, among other things, of preventing fossil fuel money from financing both Republican and Democratic campaigns in the USA.


“If we fight the climate crisis we will also fight racism and patriarchy. It’s all connected,” she stated, with the demeanor of a leader and a hopeful tone that inspired those in the room.