Among a number of films and documentaries dedicated to different periods of Princess Diana’s story and to various aspects of her personality, the television biopic "Diana: A Tribute to the People’s Princess" (1998) dramatizes, in particular, the last crucial year of her life. The film opens up by framing the princess on the isle of Majorca in the summer of 1996 and then zooms in on her face through the lens of a professional camera, thus giving us a clue to interpret her life and death. It is through the filtering eye of the paparazzi zoom lenses that we as spectators are called to watch her story. The media representations of Diana are actually the background of the television narration – or, the source, we could say, of a particular kind of intertextual adaptation – and in many cases they materialise in the film as newspaper front pages commenting on the events we have just seen on the screen. They underline the weaknesses and failures of the woman and her saintly path to recovery, which has allowed her to succeed in her wish to become the “queen of people’s hearts” (Panorama interview, 1995). The celebrity status held by Princess Diana was a particular one. It was a peculiar variant of the myth of success which is the common form of legitimation available to film stars, but not to royals (Turner 2004). Though, the desire to see her – as usually happens with saints and celebrities – determined that scoping bulimia on the side of the public that has often been regarded as the cause of her fatal accident in Paris. In this sense, the biopic "Diana: A Tribute to the People’s Princess" can be easily ascribed to that category of old, conventional biographies of women which George F. Custen sees as completely different from the male “Great Man” biopic (Custen 1992), and which Dennis Bingham describes as being burdened by those myths of suffering, victimization, and failure that reveal how fearful of the public role of women the culture that produces them is (Bingham 2010).

Life and Death in the Media Spotlight. The People’s Princess as Royal Celebrity

RUGGIERO, ALESSANDRA
2014

Abstract

Among a number of films and documentaries dedicated to different periods of Princess Diana’s story and to various aspects of her personality, the television biopic "Diana: A Tribute to the People’s Princess" (1998) dramatizes, in particular, the last crucial year of her life. The film opens up by framing the princess on the isle of Majorca in the summer of 1996 and then zooms in on her face through the lens of a professional camera, thus giving us a clue to interpret her life and death. It is through the filtering eye of the paparazzi zoom lenses that we as spectators are called to watch her story. The media representations of Diana are actually the background of the television narration – or, the source, we could say, of a particular kind of intertextual adaptation – and in many cases they materialise in the film as newspaper front pages commenting on the events we have just seen on the screen. They underline the weaknesses and failures of the woman and her saintly path to recovery, which has allowed her to succeed in her wish to become the “queen of people’s hearts” (Panorama interview, 1995). The celebrity status held by Princess Diana was a particular one. It was a peculiar variant of the myth of success which is the common form of legitimation available to film stars, but not to royals (Turner 2004). Though, the desire to see her – as usually happens with saints and celebrities – determined that scoping bulimia on the side of the public that has often been regarded as the cause of her fatal accident in Paris. In this sense, the biopic "Diana: A Tribute to the People’s Princess" can be easily ascribed to that category of old, conventional biographies of women which George F. Custen sees as completely different from the male “Great Man” biopic (Custen 1992), and which Dennis Bingham describes as being burdened by those myths of suffering, victimization, and failure that reveal how fearful of the public role of women the culture that produces them is (Bingham 2010).
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11575/8437
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