As news quickly spread this week that Lady Gaga has had to postpone the European leg of her Joanne World Tour due to “severe physical pain that has impacted her ability to perform,” a new Netflix Original Documentary is set to stream this Friday, September 22nd that not only offers a behind the scenes look at the pop icon’s life, but casts a spotlight on the debilitating chronic pain she struggles with as a result of the chronic illness, Fibromyalgia.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.” They add, “Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.” And women are more likely to develop fibromyalgia than men.
Gaga: Five Foot Two premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on September 8th, after which Lady Gaga posted on her Facebook page, “Was utterly speechless after I watched it.” The multiplatinum singer-songwriter, 6-time Grammy Award winner and Golden Globe recipient also tweeted about the larger mission of the film that goes way beyond documenting her fame – all that goes into it and all that comes with it. “In our documentary the #chronicillness #chronicpain I deal w/ is #Fibromyalgia I wish to help raise awareness & connect people who have it.”
From the official film synopsis:
In the Netflix original documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two, Lady Gaga offers a vulnerable look of her life during one of the most pivotal periods in her career yet. Directed by Emmy®-nominated filmmaker Chris Moukarbel (Banksy Does New York, Me at the Zoo), the film is shot in the style of cinema verité, giving viewers unfiltered, behind-the-scenes access as Gaga spends time with close friends and family members, records and releases her 2016 album Joanne and, deals with personal struggles.
Moukarbel’s compelling portrait captures Lady Gaga’s life over a eight-month period. On top of professional triumphs, viewers will see her cope with intense emotional and physical pain. Other moments reflect more ordinary aspects of her life, whether it’s attending a family christening, visiting her grandmother or cooking and playing with her dogs at home. The film may help viewers understand how all of these experiences contribute to Gaga’s art – and how, in just a few years, the 5-foot-2 performer has become such a relatable and beloved figure worldwide.
Of her decision to cancel the European leg of her tour, Lady Gaga shared the following on her site:
“I have always been honest about my physical and mental health struggles. Searching for years to get to the bottom of them. It is complicated and difficult to explain, and we are trying to figure it out. As I get stronger and when I feel ready, I will tell my story in more depth, and plan to take this on strongly so I can not only raise awareness, but expand research for others who suffer as I do, so I can help make a difference. I use the word ‘suffer’ not for pity, or attention, and have been disappointed to see people online suggest that I’m being dramatic, making this up, or playing the victim to get out of touring. If you knew me, you would know this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m a fighter. I use the word suffer not only because trauma and chronic pain have changed my life, but because they are keeping me from living a normal life. They are also keeping me from what I love the most in the world: performing for my fans. I am looking forward to touring again soon, but I have to be with my doctors right now so I can be strong and perform for you all for the next 60 years or more. I love you so much.”