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Al Fayed set to join stars at Cannes Film Festival

Rob Sharp

mohamed al fayed photo1 300x227 Al Fayed set to join stars at Cannes Film Festival

Brad Pitt, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Robert De Niro are set to wander down the Cannes Film Festival’s red carpet next week. The latest addition to that glittering roll-call of talent, it is fair to say, is somewhat less internationally celebrated.

Former Harrods owner Mohammed Al Fayed is set to travel to Cannes next Friday to launch Unlawful Killing, a documentary directed and produced by the comedian Keith Allen. The movie is set to be screened to an exclusive audience of distributors and journalists on the Croisette and focuses on the circumstances surrounding the 1997 death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

“Keith met with Mohammed in 2004 to discuss a project and they got talking,” said a spokesperson for the film, who said that Mr Al Fayed has also contributed funds to the project. “He is interviewed for the film. But it’s not his project. It’s Keith’s project”.
The movie tells the story of the 2007 inquest into Diana’s death. Mr Al Fayed told the inquest in 1998 that he believed Diana and his son Dodi were murdered by British establishment figures including former prime minister Tony Blair. The ultimate verdict of the inquest was “unlawful killing through negligent driving,” from which the film takes its title.

The Egpytian businessman is expected to field questions from journalists on the controversial project, though it is unclear whether his participation will extend to any publicity stunts for which the festival has become renowned.  In 2007 comedian Jerry Seinfeld donned a bee costume before flying down a zip line on to the Cannes beach to promote the animation Bee Movie, for which he provided voice-over work.

Hollywood gossip website TMZ reported earlier this week that Unlawful Killing claims to have a recording of Diana speaking on the telephone, a year prior to her death. “If you’re a strong woman in my environment, you’re a problem,” Diana is reported to have said. “No time for hobbies, keeping alive is one of them.” TMZ also reports that the film accuses a doctor, who attended the crash, of waiting too long to remove Diana from the wreckage. It claims that the film has been banned in Britain.

The movie was finished on 9 March, after three years of research and production. Allen researched the movie by “covertly” attending the inquest alongside journalists reporting on it for the mainstream media.

The film’s spokesperson said the movie showed a “cover up” after Diana’s death. “It shows how vital evidence was hidden from public scrutiny, how the royal family were exempted from giving evidence and how journalists, particularly those working for the British media, systematically misreported what was happening,” the spokesperson added.

Last month Mr Al Fayed, who is also the owner of Fulham Football Club, told the club’s fans they should “go to hell” if they did not appreciate a new statue of Michael Jackson which he commissioned. The statue, now standing outside the club’s West London Craven Cottage stadium, attracted widespread derision upon its unveiling.

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