What if Princess Diana had survived the car crash which took her life in Paris twenty years ago? This is one of the questions explored in the new film Mondo Diana, produced and directed by notorious Italian ‘shockumentary’ maker Gino Gropa. Cheered by audiences but roundly condemned by British critics during a Cannes Film Festival screening, the film, a mixture of interviews, ‘found footage’ and reconstructions, is still awaiting a UK distribution deal. However, having seen the movie, The Sleaze can exclusively reveal some of its highlights to potential UK audiences. Most sensationally, Mondo Diana claims that, in the aftermath of her fatal auto accident, French surgeons removed Diana’s brain and have kept it alive to this day. “It was the only way – her body was clearly completely screwed,” says a white haired man, identified as a top French surgeon, in this section of the film. “It was ground breaking surgery, the operation took hours, but eventually we got her brain out and transferred to a glass jar full of nutrients!” Purportedly genuine footage of the brain in a liquid-filled jar, sustained by oxygen delivered by blood pumped by an artificial heart, follows this interview – with a narrator claiming that Diana’s brain remains sentient, able to communicate via an electronic voice box. “Obviously, she finds her situation challenging – one minute she’s a fabulously wealthy Princess, with the world at her feet, the next she is a brain in a jar,” explains the alleged surgeon. “But she is fully aware of everything going on around her, thanks to being hooked up to inputs from video cameras.”
The so called surgeon also reveals that, over the years, consideration has been given to transplanting Diana’s brain into another body. “In the immediate aftermath of the crash, it was discussed whether we should try to place her brain in the body of Dodi al Fayed, who had also perished in the accident, but whose brain couldn’t be saved,” he claims. “But unfortunately, his body was also too far gone – there was also the question of the psychological effects of such a cross-gender transplant: we could have ended up with some kind of ravening bisexual monster on our hands!” Other attempts at a body transplant have founder on the lack of availability of a donor body meeting the Princess’ standards. “Obviously, we couldn’t just place her brain in any old slapper’s body, with cellulite and sagging boobs,” explains the surgeon. “We needed the body of a supermodel to fully do her justice. Sadly, most the bodies we could obtain were those of accident victims and usually missing a few parts.” Consideration was, apparently, given to constructing a body, Frankenstein-style, from the best available body parts. “The prototype left much to be desired,” the surgeon claims. “We couldn’t find two legs the same length and the breasts were different cup sizes – it just didn’t meet her high standards.”
But being a disembodied living brain has proven to have some advantages, the film claims. “Her paranormal senses have increased hugely,” another old man, this time identified as France’s top parapsychologist, tells the audience. “She can remotely move objects solely by the power of her mind, not to mention having developed telepathic powers.” It is alleged that she has even been able to influence the lives of her sons, guiding them to suitable partners, for instance. “Kate definitely married William as a result of the telepathic influence of Diana’s brain,” opines the parapsychologist. “I mean, why else would an attractive girl like her fall for a slap head like him?” This section of the film ends with another shot of the brain in its bubbling jar (topped by a tiara), held in a high security subterranean vault, constantly monitoring the outside world via a panoply of video feeds. Not surprisingly, this segment of the movie has come in for furious criticism, with allegations that the footage used is entirely faked, the scenes of the brain in a jar coming from an unreleased horror film and the scientists played by actors. Indeed, one critic has claimed that the French ‘surgeon’ is actually recognisable as a retired porn actor who appeared in many seventies sex movies, further pointing out that neither the surgeon nor the parapsychologist speak with French accents.
This isn’t the only section of the film to attract criticism. Another segment chronicling the rise of a ‘cult of Diana’ has proven equally controversial, with its depiction of congregations of Diana-obsessed women – all dressed like the late Princess – worshipping effigies of Diana on the cross. “They believe that, as a symbol of perfect womanhood and motherhood, the Princess died for them all,” the film’s barrator claims. “Her sacrifice was intended to protect and empower all under trodden women, cheated on by their husbands and victimised by their in laws.” The film alleges that, every year, on the anniversary of Diana’s death, the cult makes a sacrifice to her memory, with one of their number chosen for the honour of getting drunk, climbing behind the wheel of a car and driving off at high speed, without a seat belt. If she crashes into a lamp post or other object and dies, then they believe they will enjoy Diana’s favour for another year. If she is spared it is taken as a sign that the spirit of Diana has blessed her. Again, there are claims that the footage of Diana look-a-likes crashing their Volvos and Audis into motorway bridges is faked. Not to mention utterly tasteless.
Another highly controversial segment involves an interview with a supposed psychiatrist who claims that Diana did survive the Paris car crash, but suffered head injuries which turned her into a homicidal maniac, hell bent on murdering any member of the Royal Family she believed had been involved in trying to kill her in the crash. “She developed a paranoid delusion that the car crash was an assassination attempt organised by the Queen, Queen Mother, Prince Philip and Prince Charles,” he tells an interviewer. “Obviously, the British establishment couldn’t have a crazed Princess Diana running around, so they declared her dead and had her locked up in a secure mental facility under an assumed name.” The Princess, however, escaped and attempted to exact her revenge, nearly garotting the Duke of Edinburgh with part of a leather horse harness, before being subdued by the Queen Mother in a furious fist fight which raged all through Windsor Castle and returned to the secure facility, where she remains to this day. Despite being dismissed in the UK as a tasteless attempt to cash in on the twentieth anniversary of Diana’s death, the film has found favour on the continent, with French critics in particular praising it as a wide ranging exploration of the UK’s continued obsessive fascination with an unexceptional woman whose only claim to fame was marrying into an outmoded institution. Others believe the film brings a message of hope for the world, with its revelation that Diana’s disembodied brain is even now beaming out its telepathic message of love to a troubled globe.