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“Framing Britney Spears”, a shocking documentary on the violence and misogyny of show business

It’s the shock documentary about a pop music icon everyone is talking about in the United States. Framing Britney Spears – translate into English “Trapping Britney Spears” – released on April 5 on the Amazon Prime streaming platform. The title is ambiguous: this investigation by New York Times chooses to approach the singer’s life not from the angle of her music, but under that of the violence and misogyny she suffered from the world of show business and the media. The film also raises the question of the tutelage that his father has exercised over the star since 2008, thus controlling his decisions, his appearances in the media, his social networks but above all his fortune. The documentary reignited the #FreeBritney movement, which campaigns for the release of fame.

From the first minutes of the documentary, we witness a disconcerting scene in which the host of a singing show asks a ten-year-old Britney if she has a boyfriend. “No sir, they are mean”, answers the child-star, uncomfortable. An exchange heralding the way Britney Spears will have to be accountable all her life on her personal and intimate life. In 2002, his ex-boyfriend Justin Timberlake accuses him of having cheated on him in the song Cry Me A River : for his words the singer apologized last February. From a virginal image at the start of her career, Britney becomes a dangerous seductress, an easy girl, a bad example for American children.

A few years later come the qualifiers of “bad mother” after the singer does not fail to drop her baby. At the time, we are careful not to mention that she was at that time pursued and jostled by paparazzi … Incessantly followed, the documentary shows a Britney Spears paralyzed under the flashes, an expression of fear on her face . Until the day, in 2007, when the singer shaved her head in public. A gesture which the tabloid press will make a big splash. Britney Spears is labeled “crazy”, without considering this gesture as a possible cry for help. In an Instagram post published after the documentary aired, she confides in this constant pressure. “My life has always been discussed… watched… and judged, really all my life! (…) I have always been so judged, insulted and embarrassed by the media, and I still am today”.

Declared unfit to make decisions, Britney Spears was placed by the courts under the tutelage of her father in 2008, and never left it. If the mental health of the young woman required help from those close to her, this decision and the current situation raise questions in the light of several elements highlighted by the investigation of the New York Times. Guardianship is generally reserved for the elderly who cannot fend for themselves, and not for young adults of 27 (she is now 39 years old).

While she can not make her own choices, Britney Spears continues the tours until 2018. Her father, meanwhile, manages his fortune and earns up to 1.5% of his income, according to the documentary. The guardianship has also been described as “Hybrid business model” in a court application. Framing Britney Spears reveals that the singer herself has expressed her disagreement: she would never have been close to her father, and had expressed the refusal that her father be her guardian in justice. For two years, she has taken steps to change guardian.

Yes Framing Britney Spears quite clearly takes the side of the pop-star, the work carried out by the journalists of the New York Times remains remarkable. The film does not forget to echo all points of view – that of relatives, lawyers of both parties and even a paparazzi – and to bring nuance by recalling that certain elements are lacking to draw conclusions. . Certain medical files have never been revealed.

Despite everything, this investigation remains disturbing and sheds light on a show business and media system of extreme violence against women, as well as all the abuses suffered by the singer. “I have worked with all the boy bands and never have any of the boys been scrutinized like her”, says his former stylist Hayley Hill. Several people remain with absent subscribers, including her father Jamie Spears, who declined any request for an interview, and Britney Spears herself. The documentary ends with this observation: “The New York Times tried to reach Britney directly to ask her to participate in this project. It is not certain that she received these requests ”.

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