MTV sets Di's troubled life to music Television: Her troubled life is apparent in this balanced musical biography.

August 31, 1998|By Tamara Ikenberg | Tamara Ikenberg,SUN STAFF

On MTV's "BIOrhythm: Princess Di," the soundtrack runs the gamut from Verdi to Nirvana. But it's a lyric from No Doubt's "I'm Just a Girl" that best sums up Di's own tragic kingdom:

The moment I step outside so many reasons for me to run and hide

And indeed, "BIOrhythm" shows the conflicted princess running and hiding from the paparazzi, the judgmental royal family and the celebrity that ultimately killed her.

"BIOrhythm" is an MTV series that presents a famous life with pictures and video footage along with narrative subtitles and a soundtrack.

The half-hour Di program seems a bit rushed, given the layers of dramatic material. But it still maintains an affecting balance of admiration, empathy and horror.

It's by no means a pretty picture. Starting with footage of the Paris auto crash, set to Verdi's "Requiem," and ending with footage of Di after giving a charity speech, when she's applauded while wearing a mask of profound depression, we see her beautiful face contorted in sorrow beneath magnificent hats more often than we see her smile.

Even when we do see her face light up, such as in footage from her honeymoon, the narrative subtitles remind us that the Camilla Parker Bowles affair was in full swing and that Di was suffering from bulimia. Photos of Camilla, who gets a small montage to herself, are unflattering, as a tortured version of Natalie Imbruglia's "Torn" plays. It looks like the producers intentionally cast her in an unattractive light, though it couldn't have been too difficult.

The lightest moments come in the pre-marriage sequence on Prince Charles. With Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" providing the soundtrack, we see the gawky cad cavorting shirtless on beaches, being charmed by legions of gorgeous women and generally reveling in his "most eligible bachelor in the world" status.

Laugh while you can, because this rocking, sleekly crafted special is as far from a fairy tale as a biography of a beloved princess can get.

'MTV BIOrhythm: Princess Di'

When: Tomorrow, 10: 30 p.m.

Where: MTV

Pub Date: 8/31/98

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