Lady Gaga’s latest cinematic epic has finally arrived: Months after the mini-Tarantino saga “Telephone”, the nearly nine-minute-long new video for Gaga’s Fame Monster smash “Alejandro” debuted today on Vevo. Directed by Steven Klein and choreographed by Laurieann Gibson, the video features all the cutting edge fashion, creative dancing and tidal waves of eye-popping “did you just see that?” moments fans have come to expect from Gaga. In the clip, she transforms herself into a latex nun, a female Bono, a thick-goggled Siddhartha and the Material Girl — with a machine gun bra replacing Madonna’s now seemingly demure conical model.
“She likes epics. It fits her personality. We combined dance, narrative and attributes of surrealism,” Klein, a fashion photographer who in the past has worked closely with Madonna, tells Rolling Stone. “The process was to express Lady Gaga’s desire to reveal her heart and bear her soul.”
Surrounded alternately by half-naked, monk-haired male dancers in high heels and uniformed soldiers, “Alejandro” avoids one defining plot, opting instead to wow viewers with its intense and at times provocative political and religious imagery. Like “Bad Romance” before it, the ending of “Alejandro” shows Gaga laying in bed before it culminates in Two Lane Blacktop fashion — Gaga’s blank stare morphs into a specter as the film burns and disintegrates in the projector. Even though the clip’s running time ballooned beyond the length of standard videos, Gaga and Klein struggled to squeeze all their ideas into the final cut. “On a music video there is never enough time,” says Klein, who, besides directing tour videos for Madonna, hadn’t tackled an MTV-style project. “We had planned so much and achieved much of that, but of course some of it we were not able due to time constraints.”
While “Alejandro” seems both politically and religiously charged, from Gaga’s assault weapon bra to her ingestion of rosary beads, Klein insists “the politics came out of the story, but was not the official intention.” Madonna’s visual oeuvre seems like the obvious reference point for “Alejandro,” with its not-so-subtle hints of “Like a Prayer” and “Vogue,” but Klein admits that painters, more than any musicians or film directors, influenced the design and spirit of the video.
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