FRAMING BRITNEY SPEARS, a long ethical questioning

Not content with denouncing the scandalous placing under supervision of the pop star, the New York Times documentary asks us as a bonus about our relationship with the media and, more particularly, with the tabloid press of the 2000s.

February 16, 2007. Britney spears, pursued by a horde of paparazzi, enters a Los Angeles barbershop. She sits down, exchanges a few words with the manager of the establishment, then grabs an electric mower … And shaves her head completely. Outside, cameras and cameras are not missing a beat. These images will go around the planet. The whole world will watch the 25-year-old pop star’s descent into Hell live. If she recovered from it, her nervous breakdown Britney spears however, will not be without consequences. Judged psychologically unstable, the young woman is placed under the tutelage of her father. A state of affairs which implies that she must obtain an authorization to carry out the least expenditure and the least displacement. Which also prevents him from making any professional choice. Record a new album, go on tour, retire… All this depends on the goodwill of his father.


FRAMING BRITNEY SPEARS film still
The New-York Times

Should we free Britney?

A problem denounced for several years by the #FreeBritney movement, to which the documentary by the teams of New-York Times, FRAMING BRITNEY SPEARS, is interested closely. Released on February 5 and now available in France on Amazon Prime Video, the film continues to be talked about. And for good reason. If we are, at first glance, tempted to smile at the candid dedication of the militant fans gathered under the #FreeBritney banner, we have to admit that their arguments finally seem to hold water. From little conspiracy theories scaffolded on the basis of an enigmatic Instagram post, it comes to the irrefutable statements of a lawyer, a former assistant, a legal advisor. The testimonies are so eloquent that the investigation becomes edifying. Yes, Britney spears is a prisoner of his guardianship and this situation is abnormal. It’s hard not to be convinced at the end of the footage …


FRAMING BRITNEY SPEARS film still
The New-York Times

Another point of view

Otherwise, FRAMING BRITNEY SPEARS has the intelligence to highlight this period of depression that occurred between 2006 and 2007, which delighted all the world press people. A depression which, at that time, was far from being considered such. The general public saw Britney spears to shave your head? The newspapers claimed that she had gone mad. Britney was seen driving with her son on her lap? In an interview, she was told that she was a bad mother. No one has seen fit to explain that shaving your head is medically accepted as a desperate manifestation of regaining control over your image. No one will have noticed that, assailed by a swarm of photographers, this frightened mother rushed into her car to shelter her son. Worse: from its beginnings in the music industry, we never had the slightest pity for Britney spears. The media created a climate conducive to its downfall.


FRAMING BRITNEY SPEARS film still
The New-York Times

Ordinary sexism

FRAMING BRITNEY SPEARS indeed gives to see a batch of images of archives which seem chilling to us today. In the case of Britney spears, the voyeurism of a certain press was at this point assumed, that one did not hesitate to ask her if she was still a virgin or if her breasts had been remade. The documentary of New-York Times reminds us that this misogyny, commonly trivialized and accepted, is not so old. He thus hands us a mirror. Whose reflection is far from pleasant. Indeed, did we not, we too, mocked in 2007 at the sight of his bald head? Or, at least, haven’t we followed the soap opera in its slow and vertiginous fall, week after week, on the lookout for the headlines? And are we not watching a documentary to find out whether or not she is indeed a prisoner of her tutelage? Thus, the snake bites its tail … To wonder if Britney spears can never feel free.

Lily nelson


Original title : Framing Britney Spears
Production : Samantha stark
Release date : February 5, 2021
Duration: 1h14min

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