I’ve just completed my last day’s shooting on The Death Of Stalin. When I first brought Vyacheslav Molotov to life David Cameron was Prime Minister, Roy Hodgson was manager of England and The United Kingdom was a leading member of the European Union.
That was less than six weeks’ ago. Since then the back-stabbings and coups and plots and counter-plots in British politics have made Stalin’s Soviet Union seem awfully close to home.
And across the Atlantic the strutting Trump, tossing out solutions to his country’s ills like candy to children, would surely have found more than a few things in common with Uncle Joe.
But it’s across the Atlantic that I look with some relief and some hope for cheer in these times. Not the north Atlantic, but the south. In three day’s time the 2016 Olympics begin in Rio de Janeiro.
When I was last there in October 2011 there was a great feeling of optimism in the country. Brazil was booming and stadiums were going up, not just in Rio but all over the country, for the double whammy of Football World Cup and the Olympics. Since then the Brazilians have had a very hard time indeed. Corruption scandals have rocked the government and the once invincible soccer team has been crushingly defeated on its own turf. The Zika virus has proved a hellish extra problem for them to deal with. Then the worst blow of all. Rory McIlroy decided that he wasn’t going to the Olympics.
I have such happy memories of Brazil that I look forward to the Olympics enormously. What I wrote about and saw in Brazil nearly five years ago still gives me encouragement. Though superficial circumstances have changed, Brazil remains a potentially rich country, blessed with abundant natural resources. It’s not a warlike nation, it’s people are predisposed to enjoying themselves on the wide beaches and in the generous sunshine.
Brazilians on the whole are tolerant of others and will be warm and hospitable hosts. They love a party, they love a bit of public celebration. Music and movement are in their blood. Despite all the gloom and doom, I can’t wait for the ultimate sporting carnival to begin.