#SUNDANCE: “THE PRINCESS”
By David Baldwin
If you were alive in 1997, chances are you remember where and when you heard that Princess Diana died. Her life was cut short in a car accident in a Parisian tunnel and is the subject of the exhaustive Documentary THE PRINCESS. Academy Award nominee Ed Perkins has crafted a film that takes us through Diana’s life, from the moment the press found out the 19-year-old was being courted for marriage to Prince Charles (who was 12 years older), through their tumultuous marriage and right up to her funeral.
The sheer amount of archived footage that Perkins and his team sifted through and culled down into a cohesive 106-minute film is staggering to say the least. There are clips from news stories and interviews, and even candid footage from the media and paparazzi (complete with obnoxious commentary they probably wish they were not on the record saying). Perkins’ aim was to have the story told by the moving images, without the talking head historians offering their canned thoughts and opinions nearly 25 years after her death. It works in many instances, while others are a bit less insightful than they should be. That said, some of the interview footage he has assembled here does give you the kind of “finger on the pulse” thinking that you would have only received had you been there to hear and watch it yourself.
For anyone who does not know the whole story (or only knows parts), THE PRINCESS is a captivating look into one of the most important figures of the past century – whose influence has never dissipated, and whose story has become all the more prescient as her children have come of age. For anyone who does know Diana’s story and all the dirty, salacious details that come with it, THE PRINCESS just feels like a quick refresher that does not stay on one topic for long, and frustratingly slams to black before it really develops many of its ideas. It is an interesting and arresting Documentary either way; it just needed more of an important hook to bring it together for all audiences.
THE PRINCESS screens at Sundance as follows:
PREMIERE Jan 20 8:30PM EST Available Until Jan 20 11:30PM EST
SECOND SCREENING Jan 22 10:00AM EST Available Until Jan 23 10:00AM EST