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A Russian, some pomegranates & an Armenian walk into a video: Lady Gaga's new film for "911" explained

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Courtesy Interscope Records

If you’ve watched Lady Gaga’s new video for “911” and wondered about the inspiration for all the bizarre and surreal imagery, well, there’s a clear answer.

It appears that the entire video is an homage to a 1969 art film called The Color of the Pomegranates by Sergei Parajanov.  According to W magazine, “911” director Tarsem — known for directing the video for R.E.M.’s “Losing My Religion” and movies like The Cell — has frequently cited Parajanov as a major influence on his work.

The movie tells the story of the 18th century Armenian poet and musician Sayat-Nova. There’s very little dialogue in it; most of the story is told through sound, music, images and title cards.

To drive the point home, in the first scene of the clip, when Gaga wakes up in the desert, she’s surrounded by pomegranates — apparently a symbol of Armenia.  At the end of the clip, when we’re back in the present day, we see Gaga lying in front of a movie marquee advertising “Armenian Film Festival,” as well an actual poster for The Color of the Pomegranates.

Many Twitter users have pointed out that many of the scenes of the video where Gaga is in the village surrounded by strangely dressed people are shot-by-shot recreations of scenes from Parajanov’s movie.

By Andrea Dresdale
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