Lady Gaga attends a premiere for Gaga: Five Foot Two at the Toronto International Film Festival. Picture: AP

'Million Reasons' hitmaker Lady Gaga's recent criticism of Madonna was a "half-serious joke", documentary director Chris Moukarbel has claimed.

The 31-year-old star blasted the pop icon in her Netflix documentary 'Gaga: Five Foot Two', calling on Madonna to criticise her to her face rather than on TV - but director Chris Moukarbel has now claimed Gaga was only "half-serious" in her comments.

He explained: "When she says it to the camera, she's kind of laughing and sort of means it as a joke. Like, a half-serious joke. She's basically punctuating what she said with, 'I can't believe I just said that on camera.'"

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The 'Million Reasons' hitmaker has never watched the documentary, meaning she largely passed up the opportunity to approve what made the final edit.

But Chris made sure to show any "sensitive" scenes to the singer before including it in the finished piece.

He told 'Entertainment Tonight': "Because she didn't end up watching the film and we didn't have to negotiate scenes and I didn't get notes from her, we did show her a few - what we thought were sensitive - scenes."

The feud between Madonna and Gaga dates back to 2012, when the 'Like a Prayer' hitmaker described Gaga's music as "reductive". 

Prior to that incident, Gaga - a self-confessed fan of Madonna during her teenage years - admitted her hit single 'Born This Way' was influenced by the Madonna track 'Express Yourself'.

But in the new documentary, Gaga told Madonna to be more upfront in her disapproval of her style.

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She said: "The only thing that really bothers me about her is that I'm Italian and from New York so, like, if I got a problem with somebody, I'm gonna tell you to your face. But no matter how much respect I have for her as a performer, I could never wrap my head around the fact that she wouldn't look me in the eye and tell me that I was reductive or whatever... 

"No no no, like I saw it on f**king TV. Telling me that you think I'm a piece of s**t through the media - it's like a guy passing me a note through his friend: 'My buddy thinks you're hot, here's his...' F**k you! Where's your buddy f**king throwing up against the wall and kissing me?

"I just want Madonna to f**king push me up against the wall and kiss me and tell me I'm a piece of s**t."