Lady Gaga has based her new video for Chromatica single “911” largely on Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov’s classic 1969 art film The Color of Pomegranates.
When Gaga is first introduced she’s surrounded by actual pomegranates. The poster of the film briefly appears in the video. The word “caution” in Armenian (զգուշություն) can be seen throughout the short film.
The music video was directed by filmmaker Tarsem Singh, who has frequently cited Parajanov as a major influence
The video begins with Gaga in a desert sprawled out next to a broken bicycle and pomegranates spilled on the ground. As the song “911” starts, she enters a mission filled with oddly dressed people, including a nurse, a man banging his head onto a pillow, and a woman cradling a mummy.
Later in the video, an ambulance spinal board is brought in behind Gaga and she begins crying. After the song ends, she wakes up in the real world to paramedics treating her. She has been hurt in a car accident, and all the images from earlier in the song show up as billboards on the street where the accident occurred and other people involved in the accident. The desert as it turns out was White Sands National Park in New Mexico.
“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,” Lady Gaga said on Instagram.
“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,” she added.
The original film is a poetic retelling of the life of 18th-century Armenian poet and musician Sayat-Nova. Parajanov used little actual dialogue in the film, and most of the story is told through narrative, sound, some music, and occasional title cards.
Below are some shot-for-shot comparisons between the film and “911.”