Wednesday, 5/23/2018


Emma Thompson to receive the 2018 CineMerit Award

Enchanting: Emma Thompson

The word "enchanting" describes not only one of Emma Thompson's best-known characters — Nanny McPhee — but also the British actress herself. FILMFEST MÜNCHEN is delighted to welcome the two-time Academy Award recipient and bestow upon her the CineMerit Award for her versatile performances and her uplifting career.

It all began with brief sketches as a member of the Cambridge Footlights, the university theatrical club that produced such comedy greats as Monty Python and Fry & Laurie. Before long, the London native stood out by playing the often tragic parts of strong-willed women who dissent from the norms and rules of society and their role in it. Like few others, Thompson is able to make her characters deeply human by using only the slightest of facial expressions. This applies particularly to the films showing in the CineMerit series in her honor.


Emma Thompson is bringing her latest film, THE CHILDREN ACT, to the film festival. In this adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel, Thompson plays a judge specializing in family law who must overcome crises in both her professional and personal life. In the courtroom, she must pass judgment on a young leukemia patient who refuses a life-saving treatment on religious grounds; at home, her husband (Stanley Tucci) threatens to have an affair if their relationship does not become more intimate. Richard Eyre's film is the portrait of a woman who demonstrates her strength at work on a daily basis while being unable to express her needs at home.

The festival is showing three further Thompson classics. In 1993, for HOWARDS END, she received the Academy Award for best actress. E. M. Foster's novel was the basis for the story of two young women who are drawn into the world of an extremely affluent family. The estate Howards End comes to symbolize freedom and independence to the Victorian petty bourgeois. Helena Bonham Carter and Emma Thompson play two sisters with modern attitudes who must decide whether the security offered by the old values espoused by the Wilcoxes (Anthony Hopkins and Vanessa Redgrave) is appealing enough or whether they may pursue a bohemian lifestyle.


Emma Thompson's love of literature and language is evident not only in the many film adaptations in which she's acted, but also in her work as a screenwriter. In 1995, she adapted SENSE AND SENSIBILITY for the screen, which earned her a second Academy Award. This makes her the only person to have received an Oscar both for best actor/actress and for best writing. FILMFEST MÜNCHEN proudly presents this masterpiece by Ang Lee, starring Kate Winslet in one of her earliest roles. Winslet's youthfully carefree (or perhaps careless) Marianne is the perfect counterpart to Thompson's rational Elinor, who attempts to keep her emotions and her household under control. But deep within her is a desire for another life, which Emma Thompson consistently reveals in her moving performance.


In NANNY McPHEE, however, Thompson is a little less benign. As the quirky, homely and strict governess of the title — influenced by Mary Poppins and the Nurse Matilda children's book series — she comes to the aid of Mr. Brown (Colin Firth). Whenever she uses magic, his children behave better and she becomes more beautiful, until she looks like Emma Thompson.


Emma Thompson will be as enchanting as Nanny McPhee when she is our guest at the 36th FILMFEST MÜNCHEN. In addition to the CineMerit Gala held in her honor, the Filmmakers Live discussion will give the audience an opportunity to learn more about this inspiring woman and her career as an actress and author.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming Emma Thompson to Munich!