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Al Fayed in Cannes for Princess Diana film launch

Brad Pitt, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and Robert De Niro will walk down the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival, which opens this week. But the latest addition to that glittering roll-call of talent is less celebrated.

The former Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed will travel to Cannes on Friday to launch Unlawful Killing, a controversial documentary directed and produced by the comedian Keith Allen.

The film is due to be screened to an exclusive audience of distributors and journalists and focuses on the circumstances surrounding the death in 1997 of Diana, Princess of Wales.

“Keith met Mohamed in 2004 to discuss a project and they got talking,” said a spokesperson for the film, who said that Mr Al Fayed had 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 of the inquest into Diana's death, which opened in 2007. Mr Al Fayed claimed in 1998 that he believed Diana and his son Dodi, who also died in the crash, 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.

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