‘Diana’ film poster taken down at Paris crash site

The French distributor of the film "Diana" has removed an advertising poster that sparked outrage for being placed at the site in Paris where the Princess of Wales died in a car crash in 1997.

'Diana' film poster taken down at Paris crash site
A handful of Diana fans gather 31 August 2007 at the Paris site where the princess's car crashed. Photo: Patrick Kovaric/AFP

Distributor Le Pacte told AFP it had the poster for "Diana" removed from near the entrance to the Pont de l'Alma tunnel on Monday, ahead of the film's French premiere on Wednesday.

"We asked for the removal of this poster after controversy in the British media," a source at Le Pacte said, adding that the poster was only one of about 1,000 put up in Paris to promote the film.

Diana, her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and their driver were killed after their car smashed into a pillar in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel while being pursued by photographers.

Several British newspapers criticised French promoters for putting up the poster at the site, with the Daily Mail quoting a friend of the princess, Rosa Monckton, blasting the move as "despicable and crass".

The Daily Star described the placement of the poster as "Di-abolical" and "heartless".

"Diana", starring Naomi Watts, received a critical drubbing when it premiered in London last month. The film purports to tell the story of Diana's romance with UK-based Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan.

Since Diana's death, the area around the Pont de l'Alma has become an unofficial monument to the princess, with messages by her admirers scrawled on the bridge over the tunnel.

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Film-maker Haneke wins Spain’s top art prize

Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke won one of Spain's highest honours, the Prince of Asturias prize for arts, on Thursday.

Film-maker Haneke wins Spain's top art prize
"I want people to feel emotions and if I achieve this I'm happy," Austrian film-maker Haneke said in Madrid. Photo: Paul A. Hebert /Getty Image North America/AFP

The 71-year-old's latest film "Amour", about a couple trying to come to terms with sickness and old age, won the Oscar for best foreign movie in February after winning the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival last year.

Haneke beat Cuban choreographer Carlos Acosta Quesada, Serbian artist Marina Abramovic, Estonian composer Arvo Part and US painter Bruce Nauman in the race for the Prince of Asturias prize worth €50,000 euros ($65,000 dollars).

"When I make a movie, I want people to feel emotions and if I achieve this I am happy," he told reporters in Madrid in February during the presentation of another project, his staging of Mozart opera "Cosi Fan Tutte".

"Amour" stars two French film legends, Emmanuelle Riva, 85, and Jean-Louis Trintignant, who is 81.

They play a loving, elderly Parisian couple. When Anne, played by Riva, has a stroke, her husband is left to care for her.

The prize is awarded each year to a person, group or institution whose work in cinema, dance, music or other forms of art "constitute a significant contribution to mankind's cultural heritage."

Last year it went to Spanish architect Rafael Moneo. Other previous winners include Oscar-winning Spanish director Pedro Almodovar, Grammy-winning US singer Bob Dylan and British architect Norman Foster.

The Prince of Asturias awards are also given in the fields of communication and humanities, scientific and technical research, social science, letters, international cooperation, international understanding and sport.

Named after Crown Prince Felipe of Spain, the prizes are presented in the northern Spanish city of Oviedo, capital of the northern Asturias region, in a glittering ceremony broadcast live on Spanish television in October.