Toronto — Dressed in dramatic but unprovocative black, pop star Lady Gaga appeared at the Toronto’s Bell Lightbox facility on Toronto’s King Street to take care of business.

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This article was published 20/9/2017 (1742 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Toronto — Dressed in dramatic but unprovocative black, pop star Lady Gaga appeared at the Toronto’s Bell Lightbox facility on Toronto’s King Street to take care of business.

That is: Gaga (a.k.a. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta) was there to publicize director Chris Moukarbel’s documentary Five Foot Two a week prior to its premiere on Netflix.

With the unshaven Moukarbel by her side, Gaga began with an odd admission: she had not yet seen the film. Generally, artists in Gaga’s realm tend to exercise strict control of their image. While various edits of the film were shown to family and friends, Gaga says she deliberately kept herself in the dark.

Chris Young / The Canadian Press</p><p>Lady Gaga and director Chris Moukarbel.</p></p>

Chris Young / The Canadian Press

Lady Gaga and director Chris Moukarbel.

"The truth is that I love a great, artistic, creative experience and part of that, when you’re the subject, is honouring that’s what you are and it’s not yours to control," she said. "This film is not my vision, it’s Chris’s vision. I’m just a part of this because it’s my life."

Moukarbel, whose previous films include Banksy Does New York, came to the project without knowing Gaga and found himself surprised by her willingness to expose her life to his cameras, with the understanding that she had the right to demand the cameras be turned off at any time. Initially, Gaga was worried that he’d be bored.

"Especially that first day, I was like, ‘Are you sure you want to be here? This is so boring.’" she said.

Evan Agostini / The Associated Press</p><p>Moukarbel reveals the very-human being living inside the risk-taking pop superstar.</p>

Evan Agostini / The Associated Press

Moukarbel reveals the very-human being living inside the risk-taking pop superstar.

"Having cameras in your face a lot is difficult, and so why on top of that would I want to have him follow me all the time, every single day, unless it was somebody that I was really excited to see, artistically, how he viewed my life?"

The period on Gaga’s life captured by Moukarbel’s cameras happened to be fraught with personal drama, including her 30th birthday, her breakup with actor Taylor Kinney (who does not appear in the film), the release of her personal album, Joanne, and a kind of career overview represented by her greatest-hits performance at the 2016 Super Bowl halftime show.

Gaga proved receptive to including everything in the film, including negative criticism of her work, which she shrugs off.

"There’s always going to be someone who doesn’t like what you do. I’m not in the business of trying to make you all like me," she says. "I’m in the business of creating fantasies and music and experiences and theatre and art that inspires people, hopefully.

"The most important thing for me in my career is spreading a positive message."

The film addresses the singer/songwriter's issues with chronic pain.</p>

The film addresses the singer/songwriter's issues with chronic pain.

That message entails a head-on portrayal of the chronic pain she suffers in the aftermath of a 2013 accident in which she broke her hip.

And in an unfortunate coincidence earlier this week, the pop superstar was forced to cancel the European leg of her current world tour — 16 shows — because of that condition.

Gaga was hospitalized last Thursday and treated for intense pain and had to cancel Friday’s scheduled show in Rio de Janeiro. She cancelled a show in Montreal earlier this month after falling ill with a respiratory infection.

In Toronto, she was momentarily overcome with emotion when asked about the subject.

The pop superstar was forced to cancel the European leg of her current world tour.

The pop superstar was forced to cancel the European leg of her current world tour.

"It’s hard," she said finally. "But it’s liberating to me. My pain does me no good unless I transform it into something that is.

"The most important thing to me in this whole process is that this film, or documentary, didn’t come across like a big commercial for me, of everybody watching it and seeing how perfect I am and how perfect my career is and how perfect every little thing that I do and touch is, because that is just simply not true," she said.

"That would be not in line with everything that I am as an artist," she says. "I think the most important thing that you can be is authentic."

 

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @FreepKing

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