Washington, DC. A crowd of several hundred people has gathered on the square in front of the US Capitol. At the front of the crowd stands a woman in a red coat, just a moment ago she was holding up a sign demanding a Green New Deal and the end of fossil fuels. Next, she and a number of fellow campaigners are led away in handcuffs by the police. Smiling and with her head held high, Jane Fonda descends the stairs of the representative building to face her arrest.
“We need to act as if our house was on fire – because it is!” Fonda says during a speech held at a protest rally.
Fire drills. A few months ago, Fonda moved to the capital with the express purpose of joining the protests taking place there every Friday. She coined the name “Fire Drill Fridays” for these gatherings, openly alluding to the “Fridays for Future” youth movement. “We need to act as if our house was on fire – because it is!” Fonda says into the microphone, addressing fellow protesters and a global audience alike. Fonda calls the young Swede Greta Thunberg her inspiration for taking to the streets in protest. She accepts the fact that her unapproved protests likely mean that she will spend her 82nd birthday in jail.
Family album. Jane Fonda experienced a meteoric rise to stardom in her career. She was born in New York in 1937, the daughter of legendary actor Henry Fonda. After a formal education at the renowned Lee Strasberg Institute, she followed her father’s footsteps into the world of professional acting. Her younger brother Peter chose the same path and would gain international fame with his starring role in the road movie “Easy Rider.” In 1986, Jane Fonda played the role of loosely clad astronaut Barbarella in the synonymous film directed by her then-husband Roger Vadim – a role that made her an iconic figure and symbol of a new, hedonistic way of life. In the eyes of conservative America, it was Fonda’s first appearance as enfant terrible. Years later, the actress would expressly regret having played “such an anti-feminist” role.