REVIEWER: lyall carter
Princess Diana's story is told exclusively through contemporaneous archive creating a bold and immersive narrative of her life and death. It also illuminates how the public's attitude to the monarchy was, and still is.
The Princess tells the story of Princess Diana exclusively through contemporaneous archival footage creating a bold and immersive narrative of her life and death. Turning the camera back on ourselves, the film illuminates the profound impact she had and how the public’s attitude to the monarchy was, and still is, shaped by these events.
I’m just old enough to remember where I was when I heard that Princess Diana had been killed in a car accident in Paris. I also remember the weeks afterwards, her funeral, and the adults around me arguing for either the monarchy or for Diana.
The Princess transports the audience back to those old arguments, the public commentary surrounding Diana, allowing us to relive the story anew. It superbly navigates the life of Diana from her engagement to Charles all the way to her funeral many years later. Instead of using a narrator, director Ed Perkins deftly uses a combination of news footage and home video footage, interviews with the general public and TV chat shows that discuss Diana, Charles, and the royal family.
The result is that instead of a retrospective musing on the past with a whole lot of talking heads, the audience is transported back through archive footage to experience a wide range of public opinion of events as they occurred. It never feels as though the audience is being presented one particular side of an argument. The footage is merely presented and left at that.
As the film progresses it becomes a slightly uneasy watch as we witness photographers being even more predatory and demanding of Diana. It feels crushing and anxiety riddled, as Diana becomes even more isolated and alone. Heartbreaking yet utterly compelling stuff.
A brilliantly crafted and compelling documentary, The Princess deftly uses archive footage and interviews with the general public to transport the audience back to the life and times of Princess Diana.