Sep 18, 2020

Lady Gaga's '911' Music Video Symbolism and References

Lady Gaga's '911' Music Video Symbolism and References

The official music video for 911, the third single from Chromatica has been premiered hours ago causing worldwide trends and buzz on different media. As known, Gaga likes to express her vision through her fashion and creativity, leaving hints and references on her videos. Review with us the symbolism and references for Gaga's latest short film.

1- The video, directed by Indian filmmaker, producer, and screenwriter Tarsem Singh Dhandwar, was inspired by the Armenian Movie: The Color of the Pomegranates by Sergei Parajanov (1968) a poetic treatment of the life of the XVIII century Armenian singer, Sayat-Nova. The scene of Gaga laying upon the desert and the red pomegranates, show us how she imagines it all in her head.


2- The man and the black horse seen at the beginning of the video represents death, announcing what is going to happen and what happened at the end. The scene is also a reference to the 1970's Mexican acid Western film "El Topo" ( "The Mole") by filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky. Gaga starts following the horserider, which is going to show her how it all happened, advancing that she is clearly confused. 

3-As soon as she enters this oasis, we see the guy banging his head on a pillow, which we can observe him involved in the accident. This is also a reference to The Color of the Pomegranates film.

4- When seen Gaga behind a confessionary used on the Catholic religion to confess the sins in front of a priest, she raises her hand almost like an oath that she's going to tell truth. 

5- As she starts explaining the incident,  a woman holding a wrapped person on her arms appears, making the allusion of the person that got killed in real life, with the policemen in the back and the medical workers putting the white sheet on top of the guy. This woman holding a dead person in her hands is a clear resemblance reference of Pietà, the Renaissance sculpture made by Michelangelo. This famous work of art depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion.

6- One of the scenes showing Gaga flying away, represents and symbolizes she's about to die, making her way to heaven. This frame is also a reference from Fellini's 8½, a 1963 Italian surrealist comedy-drama film.

7- As the paramedics are trying to pull her down bringing her back to life, she starts to waking up.

8- The woman that is seen moving a mirror, is the nurse moving the flashing light in the real world checking her vital signs and reactions.

9- The diamonds box and the doll is a reference from 911 lyrics: 
♪ "Keep my dolls inside diamond boxes, Save them till I know I'm gon' drop this. Front I've built around me, oasis, Paradise is in my hand" ♫

10- Getting closer to the end of the video, we can see Gaga and her saviors walking away. This particular scene is a resemblance of the "Death" cards in the classical tarots and/or the black horse with the rider also can be understood as one of the riders from the Apocalypse.

11- Gaga's scars on her forehead are represented by the symbol of the Sine, the one Gaga sees and talks about her 'Sine From Above' song with Elton John. A song about Gaga finding her path again after hearing a Sound/Sine from above. A Sine that saved her life.

12- Now in the real world, we see all Gaga's references from her "dream". Where she had the ruby anklet but actually, there is now blood. And her saviors were the doctors helping her.

13- People seen on the corner of the incident taking photos and recording the event, is a clear example of nowadays attitude instead of helping those in need. We can say this is also a reference to Gaga's song "Angel Down" from her album Joanne: "Angel down, angel down. But the people just stood around?"

14- The video itself is a hallucination of Gaga after an incident she had on her bike and, the characters seen throughout the entire music video are the people involved.

15- The video ends with Gaga laying upon the paramedic's gurney as Chromatica III starts playing. The song is a prelude of "Sine From Above".

911's music video has received 8,244.464 views on YouTube since its premiere in its first 24 hours, making Gaga's fifth-biggest opening day on the platform. On the other side, the song has received 499,847 streams on September 18th, despite not having playlist support.