Diana death documentary maker under fire in Cannes

Fri May 13, 2011 10:33am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

CANNES, France (Reuters) - Director Keith Allen on Friday defended his film about Princess Diana's death, amid accusations that it was a one-sided attack on what he called the British "establishment" and entirely funded by Mohamed al-Fayed.

The businessman, whose son Dodi died with Diana in a 1997 Paris car crash, has long maintained that the couple was killed on the orders of Queen Elizabeth's husband, Prince Philip, believing the royal family did not want Diana marrying a Muslim.

At a sometimes heated press conference in Cannes, where Allen is launching "Unlawful Killing" outside the official film festival, he described the documentary as "forensic," a description some attendees questioned.

The film focuses partly on the 2007/8 inquest into Diana's death and argues the British press failed to properly reflect its findings due to indirect pressure from the royal family. "I thought it was important that the public got to understand in a forensic manner what was happening in this inquest," Allen, best known as a British television actor, told reporters in Cannes.

"I didn't want to make a sensationalist film, I don't think it is a sensationalist film. I think it is a very forensic analysis of a British legal process and I think it reveals certain things that ... don't add up.

"I believe that they should be questioned. That's why I made the film. I hope it shows people that nothing is at it seems."

Allen was directly criticized by one journalist for failing to make clear that the film was entirely funded by Fayed to the tune of 2.5 million pounds ($4.1 million), a figure provided by a man claiming to be Fayed's representative.

Fayed was not in Cannes to present the film.   Continued...