Nosheen Iqbal, the Guardian, talks about a new documentary about the iconic Hollywood beauty, Audrey Hepburn, which reveals the traumatic events that influenced her private life. November 2020.
She was once the most publicly adored woman in the world, yet felt a deep lack of love in her private life. Now a new film about Audrey Hepburn, the first made with the consent of her family, reveals her extraordinary sadness and pain as she candidly discusses the traumas inflicted by her father, her marriages and her miscarriages.
Audrey, a documentary by 26-year-old British film-maker Helena Coan, comes from the producers of the Bafta-nominated McQueen, about the life of fashion designer Alexander McQueen, and is packed with revelations about one of the most enduring of all Hollywood’s stars.
In an interview recorded by a Life magazine journalist in 1992 and shown for the first time, Hepburn talks about the impact of her parents’ divorce when she was six years old. “[My father leaving] was the first big blow I had as a child, it was a trauma that left a very big mark on me, it left me insecure for life,” she reveals. “He disappeared one day, mother explained he had gone away on a trip and was not coming back. Mother wouldn’t stop crying, I would just try and be with her but as a child you can’t quite understand.”
Throughout her career, Hepburn came to be seen as the epitome of elegance and grace. Born into European nobility in 1929 but devastated by the impact of the second world war as a child in the Netherlands, Hepburn kept a tight lid on her personal problems until her death in 1993 of cancer.
Coan, who spent three years researching her subject and edited the film through the spring lockdown, told the Observer she was stunned by the contrast between Hepburn’s image and the truth of her darker days.
“She’s seen as this paragon of perfection and beauty, but the film was about showing the person underneath that. She suffered massively with insecurities about her looks and with men, and to hear her link them to her relationship with her father and her deep abandonment issues, to hear those intimate details was so strange. It was such a twist for someone who had always been so private,” said Coan.
About Nosheen Iqbal: https://www.theguardian.com/profile/nosheen-iqbal