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Diana's Last Night – Love, Life, Legend: An Objective Look at the Truth

Created: 8/3/2022 10:03 am

Vor 25 Jahren, am 31. August 1997, starb Prinzessin Diana mit nur 36 Jahren in Paris bei einem Autounfall.
25 years ago, on August 31, 1997, Princess Diana died in a car accident in Paris at the age of only 36. © John Giles/dpa

“Diana’s Last Night – Love, Life, Legend” looks at the 25th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed on the last fateful days.

On August 31, 1997, a car races through the night before it hits the 13th pillar of the Alma tunnel in Paris with full force: “A shock” and a pain that continues to travel the world in the media – as Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed die.

On the 25th anniversary of the death, the ZDFzeit documentary uses staged scenes to look at the moments of which there are no recordings and frames them with real recordings and current interviews from those involved at the time. As different as the opinions and views on the two personalities may be in the conversations, all the facts lead to an overall picture of the “cat and mouse game”, which runs along the narrative thread of the one fateful day.

Diana’s Last Night – Love, Life, Legend

Princess Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed wanted to crown their summer vacation with one last night in Paris. The new friend had the reputation of a playboy: a lifestyle between alcohol and drugs – exciting fodder for the paparazzi, who were already waiting for the two in France. His father Mohamed Al-Fayed bought the British department store Harrods, but until then the billionaire had been denied a British passport: did he try to use his son to buy closeness to the royal family? Did Princess Diana use a staged summer romance to make someone else jealous? Was it an independent woman who was looking for her own fortune, or was it just the facade of a still insecure girl with a longing for protection and security?

The legend of a modern Sissi: People around her noticed the paradoxical, sometimes even paranoid behavior of the princess, who enjoyed the attention of the press but was afraid of their unpredictability. After the divorce from Prince Charles, she renounced her personal protection from Scotland Yard. Fearing that the royal family and the British secret service would spy on her, she put her safety in the wrong hands, who in the end – like in a modern drama – were to lose everything.

The film provides an objective look at the truth

The last half hour of the film resonates most intensely, where reality increasingly dominates and even the reenacted scenes can no longer maintain a poetic idyll. It gets particularly emotional when Colin Tebbut (Princess Diana’s former chauffeur) and Trevor Rees Jones (Princess Diana’s former bodyguard) speak in front of the camera, emotionally but without slipping into sentimentality. In the portrayal of Princess Diana (portrayed with dignity by Mareile Blendl), the face is always only respectfully hidden and never fully shown: as a tribute to a woman that no staging seems to do justice to.

Among the numerous investigations, the film attempts an objective look at the truth, but it also succeeds in finding the delicate tones that characterized the media appearance of Princess Diana during her lifetime: the ups and downs of a life that was too short – united in a tragic moment. (Tina Waldeck)

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