The documentary produced by The New York Times FRAMING BRITNEY SPEARS makes headlines because it explores the perfidious machinations behind the pop queen’s rise and fall in detail. But you don’t really find out anything new – let alone about the #FreeBritney conspiracy theory. We reveal more about the film in our review.
OT: Framing Britney Spears (USA 2020)
That’s what it’s about
“Framing Britney Spears” takes a new look at the successful career of pop idol Britney Spears. And she also accompanies the movement that has been campaigning for years against her father’s guardianship imposed on her by court order. Above all, it’s about the disgusting mechanisms of the US pop star machine, of which Britney fell victim at a young age – and has still not been able to free herself from it. But what’s really behind the hashtag #FreeBritney?
Every generation has its pop culture conspiracy theory. Ever since the University of Michigan published an article in its campus newspaper in the summer of 1969 in which it was claimed (jokingly, mind you!) that the pop group “The Beatles” had replaced their bassist and singer Paul McCartney, who had long since died under tragic circumstances, with a doppelganger, it was true Millions of music fans around the world were involved in the “Paul is Dead” conspiracy theory – and cheerfully interpreted record covers, album titles and song lyrics. There are also various myths surrounding the deaths of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley; just like Pink Floyd’s global hit “Another Brick in the Wall”, in whose chorus theorists still use the line to this day “Get him, get him under the roof!” You can believe that the sound engineer Peter Fischer, who was responsible for mixing the record, used to announce his later suicide in an attic. Of course, all of these conspiracy theories were never confirmed, but they remained in the public eye all the longer; And if the Internet had existed back then, each of them would probably have become its own hashtag. Just like in the case of #FreeBritney, a fan movement of Britney Spears supporters that is well on its way to inheriting “Paul is Dead” and the like.
There are few scenes in “Framing Britney Spears” that haven’t been seen somewhere else before.
However, the fact that there is a little more to #FreeBritney than one might assume behind such outrageous ideas as the still-living (!) Elvis Presley on a lunar property (!!) is already evidenced by the journalistic ambitions behind what has been on Amazon Prime for a few weeks available documentary “Framing Britney Spears”. Responsible for this is none other than the renowned New York Times, which has often published short documentaries under the umbrella brand “The New York Times presents” in the past. The director Samantha Stark has also already worked in this series and last year staged a report on US doctors and nurses, who she equipped with Go-Pro cameras for “They Get Brave” to show their everyday work to document it up close. “Framing Britney Spears” completely lacks such immediacy to the material; And the running length of just 74 minutes is primarily filled with long-known scenes – of Britney Spears, who shaved her head bald in 2007, who was caught a little later at the steering wheel of her car with her little son on her lap, and for many years after that celebrated a brilliant comeback in Las Vegas. Fans of the pop singer are likely to have a thorough grasp of the 39-year-old’s life and career. But even if you haven’t followed the escapades surrounding the former teen idol meticulously, the footage shown in “Framing Britney Spears” went around the world. None of this is exclusive or new. But bundled up like this, you get a whole new feeling for the dimensions of Spears’ global career.
“The running length of just 74 minutes is primarily filled with long-known scenes – of Britney Spears, who shaved her head bald in 2007, who was caught a little later at the steering wheel of her car with her little son on her lap, and for many years after that celebrated a comeback in Las Vegas.”
Just like for the abnormalities of the US pop music industry. It begins with the production of successful singles and albums, with the planning of world tours and the organization of award ceremonies and ends with the marketing of the most scandalous paparrazzi photos possible and the formulation of a new image after the umpteenth admission to the rehab clinic. “Framing Britney Spears” shows off the penetrance with which celebrity photographers in the USA pursue their “idols” and what kind of tough business lies behind this sleazy part of the VIP circus, as several paparazzi reveal her dependence on stars like also speak to Britney Spears and describe her view of Spears’ career; Nevertheless, such findings are by no means new. And the fact that Britney Spears was once caught driving with her little son on her lap because she simply didn’t know what else to do to escape from the photographers stands out as a cautionary tale as a single exacerbation of events without ultimately reverberating; Britney Spears has simply been in the headlines too often, with too many different scandals that are not always as blamed on third parties.
The documentary presented by the New York Times does not do justice to the singer’s undoubtedly exciting life.
“Framing Britney Spears” primarily shows images we know. The stories surrounding these are also either known for a long time (as they have already been prepared countless times by various media) or are based on assumptions. In particular, the interpretations made by various indirect pioneers about Britney Spears’ state of mind are unpleasant – in a documentary that pities a young woman as the victim of a greasy machine above and never with To speak to her, to claim her as one’s own in the same way that the documentary otherwise accuses the other media of doing, is bigoted. Nevertheless, the selection of interview partners was well thought out: Felicia Culotta, a long-time friend and former assistant of Britney Spears, has her say. As did Kim Kaiman, former Jive Records marketing executive who worked with Britney in her early career; In addition to reporters, star photographers and media experts. Britney and her family have not responded to interview requests from the New York Times. And so “Framing Britney Spears” feeds primarily on speculation, for which a new dosage form like this one would only have been necessary. Even Spears’ Instagram account is more direct.
“Britney and her family have not responded to interview requests from the New York Times. And so “Framing Britney Spears” feeds primarily on speculation, for which a new dosage form like this one would only have been necessary to a limited extent.”
But what about the aforementioned #FreeBritney movement, which assumes that the pop diva is subject to her father’s guardianship against her will and even occasionally sends her fans hidden requests for help? This part of the #FreeBritney movement, which argues clearly in the realm of conspiracy, does not take place in “Framing Britney Spears.” Bizarre things like messages through certain T-shirt colors or eyelashes that are supposed to form the words “Call 911” don’t seem to fit into a New York Times journalistic format. Ultimately, however, this only puts the documentary even further in the middle. Fans of the singer learn nothing new in “Framing Britney Spears.” Anyone who is really interested in Spears’ career rollercoaster will find themselves exposed to a lot of speculation. And then when the makers can at least shoot freely and explore the full extent of the #FreeBritney mania, the film is already over.
Conclusion: The documentary “Framing Britney Spears” presented by the New York Times does not do justice to the singer’s undoubtedly exciting life. A large part of the film consists of images that have long been in the press and speculations from people who often have not even had direct contact with the artist portrayed. After all, you can then see the pop music industry with slightly different eyes.
“Framing Britney Spears” is now available to stream on Amazon Prime.