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pearls in the soup

FILM JOURNALIST ANDREAS SCHEINER TAKES A CLOSER LOOK AT THE SUBJECT OF FOOD IN SPENCER – A (CHRONOLOGICAL) ANALYSIS:

She’s reluctant, but in the end, Diana too has to weigh herself on the scales – every member of the Royal Family, as is tradition, is weighed before the Christmas festivities in Sandringham begin. And it’s essential to put on at least three pounds over the festive period to prove they had a good time. As the equerry explains, a huge grin on his face, “It’s just a bit of fun.”

But Diana knows, it won’t be fun at all. Outside the military convoy has reached the estate, soldiers in full gear are unloading heavy crates. But instead of weapons or ammunition, the bulletproof chests contain lobsters as big as assault rifles and fruits the size of hand grenades. In the kitchen, the head chef reads the menu to his team as if leading them to war.

For Pablo Larraín, food is a weapon. The director displays luscious meals in all their glory, but also depicts Diana seated at the long table as if surrounded by the enemy. Left and right, the royals sup gravely on a thick green pea soup, while Diana feels herself choking on her pearl necklace.

Overcome with panic, under the Queen’s disapproving looks, Diana, in a nightmarish vision, sees the necklace torn from her neck, pearls rolling down into her soup. One of the pearls she places on her spoon, bites into it and chokes it down, only to throw it back up again soon after.

In Larraìn’s atmospheric scene, bathed in candlelight, Diana’s battle is symbolic. She won’t put on three pounds over Christmas. But in the end, without giving too much away, she will end up having fun.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Andreas is a film journalist and writes mostly for the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.