Home from a long day at work, I decided to check Netflix (a party to which this critic is quite late), and I came across Lady Gaga’s newly-released documentary, Gaga: Five Foot Two. Hearing good things and being the casual fan of the Grammy and Golden Globe-winning singer and actress, I decided to give it a go.
Minutes in, the director’s seemingly Arab name claimed the screen. A quick Google search later, an interview confirmed that director Chris Moukarbel is in fact an American born to two Lebanese immigrants. Discoveries much like this one are always welcome, not as a question of these artists’ talents of course, but because of the hope their achievements carry for the many burgeoning film-makers coming out of Beirut today.
A deeper look into Moukarbel’s career reveals a few other titles to the documentarian’s name, like the Emmy-nominated Banksy Does New York detailing the artist’s journey to producing 31 works of art in 31 days, and Me at the Zoo, which delves into the rise of Youtube’s Chris Crocker (whose love for Britney Spears inspires us to no end).
But it is this latest effort of his that people will remember. In Five Foot Two, Moukarbel is somehow able to reveal both parts of himself and parts of Gaga in a work that can best be described as intimate. It is clear that the documentary was shot, first and foremost, by a fan and admirer of Gaga’s, and this is evidenced by some of the entrancing and intimate sequences that colour the film’s music-text conversation. While it is far from perfect, the documentary is definitely of the better efforts in a subgenre of documentary filmmaking that has become rather tired and insincere, save for the occasional Amy.
Moukarbel’s work poises him as a conceptual filmmaker, and Five Foot Two demonstrates his promising filmmaking chops. Coupled with the right crew and team, I expect good things in the future of this rising director. Check out Gaga: Five Foot Two on Netflix!