Venice Film Festival: How Kristen Stewart Plays Princess Diana

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watching the new movie “Spencer” Premiering at the Venice Film Festival on Friday, I kept thinking about Kristen Stewart’s long, unexpected relationship with the Chanel fashion house.

player a Chanel’s ambassador Since 2013, when he just left four movies “Twilight” series. At first glance, it might seem like a bad match: Off-hours, reckless Stewart is more of the jeans and Converse type, while Chanel is a high-end outfit without the appropriate style. primitive and rusty.

But something fascinating happens when Stewart wears those tweed jackets. Because they don’t fit her naturally, she wears them more provocatively: Sometimes they’re crossed over her shoulders with the casual coolness of a leather jacket, or they’re just tied at the top with nothing underneath. Rather than being the classic ideal of a Chanel woman, Stewart pulls this ideal towards her, and the distance between these two extremes is what grabs and holds your attention.

Something pretty similar happens in “Spencer,” where Stewart plays Princess Diana. You may already be confused by the potentially disastrous clash of famous names: a grumpy American starlet as the people’s princess of Wales? How can an iconoclast like Stewart play the icon that is Diana?

During the movie’s opening sequence, the tip comes early. Christmas Eve at Sandringham House, where the royal family goes to spend their holidays. Their breakfasts, lunches and dinners will be handled with all the precision of a military maneuver because… NS A military maneuver as soldiers enter service to transport fresh produce and lobsters in camouflaged trucks to Sandringham.

Meanwhile, Princess Diana disappears as the kitchen staff stands in scrutiny. We meet him in a convertible BMW, miles off his route in the countryside with no safety details to keep him on the road, looking at his map. Its first line contains a muttering curse, and the next is both plain and mournful, presented to a star-studded roadside officer: “Where am I?” It will disappear even more when it reaches Sandringham.

So if you’re wondering how a star like Stewart fits into a British drawing room drama, the answer is that she really shouldn’t: It’s not Diana, after all. The Princess does her best to avoid the rest of the royal family, but Stewart as Diana succeeds in these encounters when the contrast between her and the hard-lipped British cast becomes a shuddering mess.

Does Stewart nail his voice, accent, poise, star quality? Well, it’s not the exact accuracy that challenges us while watching “Spencer”: As with Chanel jackets, Stewart is drawn to Diana, and Diana to him. The actress works here on a different, louder recording and has incorporated some of Diana’s physical tics into her repertoire, including the princess burying her chin on her shoulder, her raised eyes being either fearful or reserved depending on who’s looking. .

This Diana is not as girlish as hers. Emma Corrin He played in the final fourth season of “The Crown”; in fact, “Spencer” takes place in 1991 (one year after the period covered in that season), a time when Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles has largely fallen apart. At this point in her life, Diana is an uneasy contradiction, both hardened and more vulnerable than ever. The princess has a tendency to babble about her condition to new acquaintances, clinging to huge strings of pearls that wrap around her neck like a padlocked leash.

This is a fertile, hot zone for the director. Pablo LarrainExplores the traditions of American royalty in “Jackie” (2016), starring Natalie Portman. As former First Lady Jackie Kennedy, Portman eschewed her usual naturalism to work with bolder colours, and as a Snatch Game character she turned into a startling, failed performance that could be reproduced note-by-note. “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Stewart’s performance isn’t nearly campy, but the movie around it often leans in that direction. Larraín has a gifted eye but a mind for melodrama, and Steven Knight’s script underscores his metaphors so brutally that he can sometimes flirt with parody. It’s not enough for Diana to translate a book about another royal wife, Anne Boleyn; At the end of the movie, Diana’s hallucinatory absurd footage of Boleyn caused a few shakes at Friday’s “Spencer” press release.

But Stewart always proves to be a solid presence, no matter how lost Diana gets. As the movie goes on, the casting seems like a meta blow to genius: Stewart is one of the few people on the planet who knows about paparazzi scrutiny; death. If Diana doesn’t want to leave her room all the time, you can imagine Stewart feeling these feelings too: There’s no real way to win, whether he’s playing the game or not.

I’ll let the accent experts decide if Stewart’s English language is in the right place; To me, that was always his intention. In “Spencer,” a lot is made of Diana’s dresses that she must wear to certain events in a certain order; Of course, she pretty much breaks these rules, letting her wearers instinct guide her. is it suitable? is it correct? Who cares when everything is so interesting?

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