Netflix has debuted a new trailer for their upcoming documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two, which promises to reveal the real life of pop superstar (and sometime actress) Lady Gaga. Director Chris Moukarbel followed Lady Gaga around for several months documenting everything from recording sessions to Super Bowl halftime rehearsals to hospital trips in hopes of capturing the truth behind her pop star image. The film will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival before moving to Netflix.
Born Stefani Germanotta, the artist now known as Lady Gaga broke through as a pop star with her 2008 album The Fame and massive-selling single Poker Face. Gaga soon became known as much for her outrageous outfits and strange on-stage performances as her music, and was dismissed by some as a mere product of the media’s image-making machine. Gaga has worked over the years to win respect, showing off her vocal range on an album of jazz standards with Tony Bennett, and proving her ability to perform without massive staging and pyrotechnics by embarking on a stripped-down dive bar tour in support of her last album Joanne.
A new teaser trailer from Netflix gives us a glimpse of what Chris Moukarbel captured while documenting Lady Gaga’s life both on-stage and behind-the-scenes. The trailer promises a lot of Lady Gaga in the raw, stripped of her superstar trappings and just living her real life, which appears to be made up mostly of working very hard. We see a lot of the sort of candid material you typically see in behind-the-scenes documentaries: people looking tired, people goofing off, people seemingly slightly annoyed that the camera is still on them.
In one of the trailer’s realer moments, Lady Gaga apparently becomes dehydrated and needs to get an IV at the hospital. In another revealing moment we see Gaga trying to shop at Walmart when she is mobbed by fans. We also see footage of Gaga conceiving and rehearsing her big Super Bowl halftime show which saw her memorably dropping down from the ceiling of Houston’s NRG Stadium.
Documentaries that claim to give us an inside look at the life of someone famous are always slightly iffy propositions. The template for such documentaries was Don’t Look Back, D.A. Pennebaker’s famous film about Bob Dylan which offered a very raw look at an often-wasted Dylan dealing with the burdens of stardom while on tour. Perhaps the most famous and controversial of all superstar documentaries was Madonna’s Truth or Dare, which followed the pop star on one of her tours. The question with all such endeavors is how much creative control the star exercises, and how much of their “real” experience is actually being shown.
Gaga: Five Foot Two appears to contain lots of candid peeks at the star’s creative process, her personal life and what she’s like when she’s just chilling with her friends. We’ll see if the movie gives us a compelling look at Gaga the person, or just plays like a slyly-packaged work of self-promotion. Next year, Lady Gaga will try to break into full-fledged movie star territory by appearing opposite Bradley Cooper in another a remake of A Star is Born.
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