Lady Gaga’s video to her latest single “911” echoes scenes from the 1969 arthouse film The Color of Pomegranates by legendary Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov.
The outlandish video is, in fact, a shot-by-shot recreation of Parajanov’s film. It kicks off with a blue-haired Lady Gaga draped in red, orange, and pink fabric, and surrounded by pomegranates, as she wakes up in the desert. Then, the pop star embarks on a succession of hallucinatory scenes with eccentric characters in the front yard of a Mexican whitewashed house.
Known as the masterpiece of the Soviet Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov, The Colour of Pomegranates tells the magical life story of Sayat-Nova, an 18th-century Armenian ashug — a lyrical poet — who wrote in Armenian, Azerbaijani, Georgian, and Persian. Featuring very sparse dialogue, The Colour of Pomegranates is an immersive fusion between film, poetry, and theatre, filled with Armenian folk elements and symbolism.
The Grammy-award winning video director, Tarsem Singh, has frequently cited Parajanov as a major influence on his work. In “911”, the citation becomes explicit when — spoiler alert — it is revealed that all of the action in the video took place inside Lady Gaga’s head after crashing her car right outside a cinema showing The Colour of Pomegranates.
“This short film is very personal to me, my experience with mental health, and the way reality and dreams can interconnect to form heroes within us and all around us,” wrote Lagy Gaga in an Instagram post. “I’d like to thank my director/filmmaker Tarsem for sharing a 25-year-old idea he had with me.”
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This short film is very personal to me, my experience with mental health and the way reality and dreams can interconnect to form heroes within us and all around us. I’d like to thank my director/filmmaker Tarsem for sharing a 25 year old idea he had with me because my life story spoke so much to him. I’d like to thank Haus of Gaga for being strong for me when I wasn’t, and the crew for making this short film safely during this pandemic without anyone getting sick. It’s been years since I felt so alive in my creativity to make together what we did with “911”. Thank you @Bloodpop for taking a leap of faith with me to produce a record that hides in nothing but the truth. Finally, thank you little monsters. I’m awake now, I can see you, I can feel you, thank you for believing in me when I was very afraid. Something that was once my real life everyday is now a film, a true story that is now the past and not the present. It’s the poetry of pain.