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The Queen (2006) Essay

2449 words - 10 pages

Stephen Frears, utilises the director's imagined memories of the events succeeding Diana's death to portray the Queen, and her actions, in a warmer light. A compelling and challenging view of Diana is also presented in the film, furthering Frears' purpose of convincing the audience of the difficulty of the Queen's position and hence softening the public image of her. Diana is initially presented through a montage of grainy archival footage, where Diana almost seems to be courting and teasing the media with her image. While this archival media footage adds authenticity to Frears' account, it also demonstrates how insulting this behaviour would have been to the rigid policies of the monarchy. ...view middle of the document...

Realising that this was suddenly not wanted by the public perplexed her. This is demonstrated as Frears selects events from his personal interpretation and uses a high angle long shot as the Queen retreats into nature at Barmoral Castle. The vast landscape and the camera angle is symbolic of the Queen's insignificance as she cannot comprehend the abrupt changes to her role. Frears adds authenticity to his account through his costuming and casting, which closely imitates the characters being portrayed. Hence Frears' perceived memory, assisted with historical data, generates compelling insights into the Queen's experience of the time, and thus creating unexpected sympathy for her difficult position.

The Queen is represented as in a confused struggle between protocol and precedent and the desires and needs of her people. This comes across subtly, through the character’s facial expressions at the sight or sound of her people’s disappointment with her behavior, and more explicitly through her dialogue, where she comments “I chose to keep my feelings to myself. Foolishly, I believed that was what the people wanted from her Queen” to Tony Blair. In many ways, this fulfills the purpose of Frears film, to represent the unexplored memories of this significant historical event; the untold stories which allow an individual to gain a more global understanding on all dimensions of the implications and significance of certain moments in history

In the construction of a representation of history, it is individual and collective memory which conjures an understanding of the historical figure or event, yet it is historically accurate details and trivialities which authenticate such representations. Physical evidence and relevant historical details are essential in constructing both history and context as they create direct links to memory. Frears interweaves the imagined and the real into a believable representation of history, in order to tap into and make a connection with the collective memory and individual’s personal memories of the historic event. He achieves this through incorporating researched historical accuracies into the narrative. This is exemplified in the character of Cherie Blair, who is constructed to be critical of the Monarchy through dialogue and her actions, most notably when she offers a shallow curtsy to the Queen and calls the royals “a bunch of freeloading, emotionally retarded nutters.”  It is a widely accepted historical fact that Cherie Blair was an anti-monarchist who offered disrespectful curtsies only to the Queen. The inclusion of such a historical truth by Frears makes the representation of both history and memory more believable by creating a direct link to the historical understanding of Cherie Blair and the way that people remember her.

History can only be recorded retrospectively; hence, to a degree it relies on memory. The interplay of history and memory therefore can result in new understandings of events and...

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