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The release of a new Britney Spears documentary, Britney vs Spears, comes just one day before a court case that might see her 13-year conservatorship end.
This is one of at least five big films on the pop artist this year, including three this week.
This one, like the others, depicts the tumultuous battle for control of the singer’s life and multimillion-dollar estate — and adds some fresh details.
Britney vs Spears: What is this documentary?
It’s known as Britney vs. Spears.
It is created by Erin Lee Carr, a filmmaker, and Jenny Eliscu, a journalist. The documentary is a Netflix original that premiered on the streaming site on Tuesday.
What does Britney vs Spears cover?
Following the singer’s highly public health and custody troubles in 2008, the 94-minute video explains how the conservatorship began.
It then follows how people are in charge of her life and estate. Namely, her father, Jamie Spears, kept the arrangement in place against Spears’ wishes and despite her ability to work and perform regularly during the past decade.
The filmmakers interact with a variety of people who were in Spears’ orbit at the time. Thereby, including managers, colleagues, friends, and an ex-boyfriend. It is deeply sympathetic to her plight.
“If you care about women, you should watch this movie,” Carr told the Los Angeles Times recently.
“If you care about mental health, you should watch this movie. If you’re a fan of Britney Spears, you should watch this movie.”
Jamie Spears, Lou Taylor, Britney’s former conservatorship business manager, and Sam Ingham, Britney’s former court-appointed lawyer, were not interviewed.
What are the most important revelations?
For starters, Adnan Ghalib, Spears’ boyfriend during her traumatic divorce from her first husband, Kevin Federline, speaks for the first time in a long time.
He talks about his fear for Spears’ safety at the time. Also, how he would be blamed if something happened to her because he was a non-white ex-paparazzo dating an American icon.
“There [were] nights when she would stay up for three days, and I would have to stay up with her,” he says.
“She was taking [the prescription amphetamine] Adderall. I am sure x-amount of millions of people are taking Adderall.
“But these are the things that become volatile and deadly weapons when you are going through a child custody case.”
Secondly, we see some new details about the conservatorship arrangement:
Carr and Eliscu bring a paper from the conservatorship application. It is a marked box for “orders related to dementia placement” — unusual for a 20-something.
Despite working consistently during that period, an early medical assessment leaked to the filmmakers concludes that Spears “lacks the capacity” to hire her own lawyer or make her own financial decisions in 2008.
After profiling Spears for Rolling Stone magazine, Eliscu was a part in an undercover plot in a LA hotel restroom to obtain Spears’ signature on a petition. It is requesting the court to fire her lawyer, Mr Ingham. Spears believed was not acting in her best interests.
Is there any word from Britney Spears?
The singer does not participate in an on-camera interview.
There is, however, footage from earlier interviews, and she says in text messages to Mr. Ghalib: “I’m fuckin sick of this … I hate my life please talk to that lawyer.”
Andrew Gallery, a cinematographer who became a personal friend, also speaks.
She sent him a letter early in the arrangement; hoping he would read it publicly or share it with the media.
He reads some of it in the documentary, Britney vs Spears.
“The people controlling her have made $3 million this year,” he says.
“She would love for new eyes to see her situation. But if she brings it up she is constantly threatened that the conservators will take her kids away.
“As long as the people are getting paid and she has no rights, it could go on for a while. But it doesn’t make it right at all.”
As he prepared to hear, Spears speak in front of a jury for the first time this year, Gallery told the filmmakers:
“It seems like it’s an epic fail of the legal system that this has gone on for so long.”
Is there a reaction from Spears to the documentary’s release?
Outside of her latest court appearance, Spears’ Instagram account has been the only window into her life in recent years.
She claimed in a now-deleted post on Tuesday that she had seen the new documentary and that it wasn’t real – but it’s unclear whether she was talking towards this Netflix documentary.
A separate CNN documentary, as well as a New York Times follow-up to its February film, aired lately. (She isn’t a big admirer of any of them.)
Carr, a Spears admirer, revealed before the film’s release that she had informed the singer of its existence and hoped she would enjoy it.
What’s next in the case of Britney Spears?
Overnight, there is a court date (September 29).
It’s a hearing on Jamie Spears’ plea to remove the conservatorship and give his daughter back control of her life, which he filed earlier this month.
At the time of that petition, Spears’s lawyer Matthew Rosengart said it was “another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one”.
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