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Watch Beyoncé's 'Life is But a Dream' for behind-the-scenes look
Beyoncé's HBO documentary, "Life is But a Dream," premiered Saturday, and in it, the pop superstar, who's rumored to own a home in Scarsdale, offers viewers a rare, behind-the-scenes look at her performances and private life.
In November, Beyoncé said through a statement that she chose to collaborate with HBO because of the network's "history of pushing every boundary with class and authenticity."
Newsday Westchester screened the documentary last week and offers five things to look out for in "Life is But a Dream," which the 17-time Grammy Award winner co-directed and executive-produced.
1. Insight on her father, Matthew Knowles. It's no secret that Beyoncé's dad shaped her early career, especially when he was managing Destiny's Child, but he has faded to the background in recent years. Beyoncé says she manages herself these days. The documentary proves that although he has been a motivator and strong influence throughout Beyoncé's life, she describes their relationship as "fragile."
2. The power she has over a room. Forget concert settings for a moment: After Beyoncé is quoted as saying that she'll kick people out of a studio if they make her uncomfortable, there's a scene in which she's playing a new record for a group at Columbia Records, and every head at the boardroom table is nodding along to the beat. The song isn't bad, but even if it were the sound of a cat yelping, you know every last person at Columbia would be saying how great it is regardless.
3. A sense of how much work goes into anything Beyoncé does. I'd missed her groundbreaking performance of "Girls" at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards, but documentary viewers will have an appreciation — new or old — for the sheer (wo)manpower, time commitment and sleepless nights that went into that production.
4. Her husband, Jay-Z, and their daughter, Blue Ivy, to whom she dedicates the documentary. Considering how often Beyoncé says she likes her privacy, it's understandable why documentary viewers only get a glimpse of her 1-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy Carter. A bit more time is spent on the sweet, behind-the-scenes duet of Coldplay's "Yellow" that she sings with Jay-Z. Yes, there's a reason Jay-Z usually limits his vocals to rap, but that doesn't make the home video footage of their duet any less adorable.
5. Beyoncé's pure talent. There's a moment when the worldwide pop icon is away from the screaming crowds, away from the dance and recording studios, and she's singing in the backseat of her car. And that's when, as a viewer, you remind yourself of how she got to be this big of a star in the first place. Beneath the glitz, glamour and extravagant lifestyle, she's got chops.
The Beyoncé film will serve as a companion piece to Ron Howard's documentary about Jay-Z. In September, Howard — an Armonk resident — filmed much of the "Made In America" music festival that Jay-Z produced in Philadelphia. That movie is slated for release later in 2013.
Which documentary would you rather see? Vote in our poll and explain your answer in the comments section below.