Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb….
Katy Brand writes for The Telegraph on the power of Princess Diana in 2013:
“This week, the director of ‘Diana’ told my fellow Telegraph Wonder Women columnist Cathy Newman that he felt the Princess was a “sort of genius…like a film star”. She certainly had an extraordinary, unsettling ability to create a sense of intimacy from a million miles away, as far and distant as a supernova in the sky – long gone, but the light still reaches us.”
Read the full article here.
Brand writes a touching and sensitive piece about the personal and intimate relationship many had with Diana – whether they knew her personally or not. Brand admits she’s not a royalist and yet she was one of many who laid flowers amongst the thousands in August and September 1997.
Like Katy Brand, I too, have yet to see Diana and the harsh reviews (though a notable positive one comes from The Daily Express) has become almost a personal insult to those who paid their respects to “The People’s Princess”. I fear this is only the start of an industry who will exploit her death – and life – for the sake of financial gain. Brand reminds us how “like other icons before her who died before their time, the further we are from her passing, the more powerful she becomes”. Unfortunately, this will only serve as a justification for a re-tread of the famous moments and slightly, adapted versions of the story. The words “homage”, “tribute” and “testament” will be bandied around in interviews and press packs to support the purpose of the films made.
But this is not the first use of Diana in cinema of course – though it is the first cinematic adaptation of her life. Back in 2001, Amelié referenced her death as a catalyst to lead the titular character to the love of her life while The Queen, alternatively, saw Diana’s death and aftermath as the backdrop to a revealing portrait on The Queen herself. I can only image the inevitable Paul Burrell story; The Dodi Al-Fayed story; the attack-on-the-paparazzi version (surely depicting the life of a photo-journalist and Diana running parallel to each other). With enough time, the conspiracy theory claiming the Royal Family themselves are responsible will become ripe for interpretation. Finally a biopic on Prince Charles, subtle and ambiguous, as it claims to be Charles’s story – when Diana will steal the show. Either way, it is a topic that will return time and time again. John Lennon has already had two incarnations of his death – the explicit and bluntly-titled The Killing of John Lennon in 2007, and Chapter 27 in 2008, which saw Jared Leto taking on the role of Lennon’s murderer Mark David Chapman.
We can only hope that sensitivity and cautiousness is at the forefront of filmmakers minds when producing any Diana-based narrative – otherwise we may spoil her memory and what she stood for forever.