Award-winning director Tarsem (Tarsem Singh) has partnered with Vevo to reveal new details about the making of Lady Gaga’s short film, “911,” made for the song off of her critically acclaimed No. 1 album Chromatica, for a brand new episode of Vevo Footnotes.
“LADY GAGA – THE MAKING OF ‘911’ | VEVO FOOTNOTES”
Tarsem reveals that once Gaga enlightened him on the meaning behind the song “911” and her deeply personal connection to it, he was able to tailor a concept he dreamt of 25 years ago to perfectly fit. Gaga gave Tarsem full reign of the video to tell the story of her past struggles with mental health, as he pulled visual inspiration from Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ (1963), Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain (1973), and Sergei Parajanov’s The Color of Pomegranates (1969) to explore the interconnection between reality, dreams and the formation of heroes.
Wizard of Oz-like recurrence of characters, hidden symbolism and custom pieces by Gaga’s fashion director Nicola Formichetti and stylist Marta del Rio are said to be key elements of the remarkable “911” short film. A complete Vevo Footnotes outline is listed below.
[00:16] – “911” is the eighth track on Lady Gaga’s sixth studio album Chromatica.
[00:23] – Gaga wrote the song with Justin Tranter, BloodPop and Madeon. It is about her experience with mental health and taking antipsychotic medication.
[00:30] – She introduced the video on Instagram, writing: “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
[00:39] – “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.” – Lady Gaga
[00:49] – The video was directed by Tarsem Singh who actually came up with the idea 25 years ago.
[00:54] – “I had already had this idea in my head and was waiting for the right song that just fit it perfectly.” – Tarsem Singh
[1:00] – “Once Gaga explained to me in depth what the song meant, I just knew that I could tailor it to fit her as well.” – Tarsem Singh
[1:08] – An alternate version of the video was filmed too.
[1:13] – “I will say that Gaga gave me free reign in both versions to execute this idea exactly as I saw fit which let me know she trusted me and this partnership.” – Tarsem Singh
[1:17] – The final version was cut in less than a day and Gaga didn’t change a single frame.” – Tarsem Singh
[1:24] – Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ (1963), Alejandro Jodorowsky’s The Holy Mountain (1973), and Sergei Parajanov’s The Color of Pomegranates (1969) were key visual references for the director.
[1:31] – “It was most important to me for the Armenian references to be felt throughout this film.” – Tarem Singh
[1:36] – “That was my vision for the overall style from the beginning and once I understood Gaga’s vision fully, I knew that these were going to be key throughout.” – Tarem Singh
[1:43] – The lyric “Keep my dolls inside diamond boxes” is a reference to Jacqueline Susann’s 1966 novel Valley of the Dolls.
[1:49] – Gaga worked with her fashion director Nicola Formichetti, and stylist Marta del Rio to commission some custom pieces for this video.
[1:56] – Spoiler Alert! If you’ve watched the video already, you’ll know that each of these vignettes are revealed to be hallucinations Gaga experiences after being knocked unconscious in an accident.
[2:03] – This particular scene is meant to reference her starting to doze out of consciousness from the accident and as she begins to drift off, the paramedic is trying to bring her back down into consciousness.” – Tarsem Singh
[2:16] – If you look closely, the ending of the video appears for a second here.
[2:22] – And you’ll notice that each of these characters you see in Gaga’s hallucination reappear later in real life.
[2:47] – The painted mural on the wall actually depicts the accident you see later too.
[2:53] – The dress Lady Gaga wears here is designed by Johannes Warnke. It is part of the designer’s graduate collection called “Windows of Perception.”
[3:16] – Here, Gaga is wearing a vintage black lace dress from Alexander McQueen’s infamous “Highland Rape” Fall/Winter 1995 collection.
[3:23] – She also has the symbol for Chromatica on her forehead.
[4:00] – Here are some of the characters from her hallucination in real life as victims, bystanders and first responders: