This Friday, May 7, “The Boy from Medellín,” a documentary on Colombian reggaeton superstar J Balvin is released on Amazon Prime Video. Directed by acclaimed documentary filmmaker Matthew Heineman, the film chronicles the week before Balvin’s first solo performance at Medellín Stadium, a glorious homecoming event complicated by a youth protest movement and his own personal challenges in maintaining his physical and mental health in such a pressure cooker environment.
In his rise to fame, Balvin has become an important figure in Colombia, and he’s ultimately struggling to do and say the right thing in a politically charged time that raises the stakes of his homecoming. While “The Boy from Medellín” grapples with how pop stars can meaningfully engage in politics, the film is also a blast of a concert documentary, featuring the jaw-dropping stage spectacle of Balvin. The doc follows a tradition of pop superstar documentary reveal that humanizes these characters who exist on the world’s biggest stages.
One of the first of its kind is, of course, the classic 1964 Beatlemania documentary, “A Hard Day’s Night,” a musical film directed by Richard Lester, which caresses a day in the life of John, Paul, George. and Ringo. A delicious, must-have classic for any music-obsessed teenager (or teenagers at heart). Stream it on HBO Max or Criterion Channel.
The 2020 documentary “Miss Americana” immersed viewers in the life of country / pop superstar Taylor Swift, offering insight into her personal struggles, her writing process and her intimate life. Lana Wilson’s film also demonstrated how Swift seeks to speak in meaningful ways about her politics and personal beliefs, at the risk of alienating much of her audience, which Balvin struggles with as well. Stream “Miss Americana” on Netflix.
Also on Netflix: “Gaga Five Foot Two” (2017), directed by Chris Mourkabel, takes fans behind the scenes of the world of avant-garde pop phenomenon Lady Gaga, recounting her family life, her health problems and her art without. compromise.
A pop star docs double reinvigorated form in 2011 and 2012, with Jon M. Chu’s “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never” and “Katy Perry: Part of Me,” directed by Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz. Each film has examined their rise to fame and the complexities afterwards for each pop star, as well as the hard work of their grueling careers and it affects their personal lives. Both movies are available for a $ 2.99 rental on digital platforms, and “Never Say Never” is on both Amazon Prime and Paramount Plus.
Singer Demi Lovato opened up about her personal struggles in two YouTube documentaries. In 2017, “Simply Complicated” portrays the ex-Disney star’s tremendous gift and troubled past, while her new YouTube documentary series, “Dancing With The Devil,” delves into her addiction issues and overdose experience and of imminent death in 2018.