The so-called “short film” for her newest single, “911,” premiered on Friday — and it recalls the surreal storylines of Gaga’s past works, like “Telephone” and “Bad Romance.”
Gaga wrote the song about her antipsychotic medication and, as described by Billboard’s Nolan Feeney, “when your brain and your body feel at war with each other.” That tension and duality is artfully reflected in the video.
“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,” she wrote 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.”
The five-minute video follows a hallucinatory experience after Gaga’s character is nearly killed in a car accident — and upon additional viewings, many details emerge that hint at the video’s twist ending.
We rounded up 30 such details that you may have missed.
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The video begins with Gaga splayed out in the desert, a one-wheeled bicycle lying next to her.
A blue-haired Gaga is draped in red, orange, and pink fabric, which may be intended to resemble blood.
In real life, it looks like Gaga’s character was involved in a car accident while she was riding her bike.
At the end of the video, Gaga is revived by a paramedic, who tells her she’s been in an “accident.”
The horseman dressed in all black that she sees in the desert reappears in an advertisement for New Mexico’s White Sands National Park.
A similar horseman is also seen in a video advertisement for LG, the famous electronics company. It’s unclear whether it’s simply product placement, or whether Gaga chose the company for sharing her initials.
As one Twitter user noted, the advertisement also bears the tagline, “Life’s Good.”
“As she lays on the floor battling for her life she looks up to see ‘LG Life’s Good’ which is referencing to people who think her life is perfect just because she is Lady Gaga,” the fan account wrote. “When she’s in fact not perfect and she’s struggling just like everyone else.”
White Sands National Park looks a lot like the desert where Gaga wakes up in her hallucination.
The park is located in the mountain-ringed Tularosa Basin and is dotted with white sand dunes, composed of gypsum crystals.
At the beginning of the video, she’s blindfolded.
The blindfold could symbolize how Gaga’s character is unconscious in real life.
It also bears an aesthetic similarity to the firemen on the scene at her accident.
She’s also surrounded by pomegranates, which reappear at the end of the video.
In Greek mythology, the fruit represents temptation and death; Hades uses pomegranate seeds to trick Persephone, whose mother is the goddess of agriculture and earth, tethering her to the underworld.
Persephone becomes Hades’ wife. She’s forced to return to the underworld periodically, which causes winter.
Given the myth’s themes of emotional trauma and manipulation, Gaga could be referencing her own real-life experiences with abuse and rape.
The fruit bears symbolic importance in Armenian culture. The music video also draws inspiration from “The Colour of Pomegranates.”
At the end of the video, Gaga’s revived character is seen lying outside of a movie theater. The marquee reads, “Armenian Film Festival.”
According to Ianyan magazine, the pomegranate is “the central fruit in Armenian culture” and “symbolizes fertility and abundance.”
The music video also shows a movie poster for “The Colour of Pomegranates,” a real-life 1969 Soviet art film written and directed by Sergei Parajanov, who was of Armenian descent.
“As much ritual as movie, ‘The Color of Pomegranates’ was staged amid ancient ruins, using religious relics as props,” the New York Times wrote in 2018.
“Indeed, looting museums was one of the charges that the authorities leveled against Parajanov, a nonconformist who was persecuted and imprisoned on suspicions of homosexuality and became a cause célèbre among Western cinephiles.”
Gaga’s real-life ankle injury is symbolized by a red anklet.
When Gaga is revived at the end of the video, she says she can’t feel her left leg.
Two characters arrive to guide her through the video. These people are later revealed to be a paramedic and a doctor who revive the real-life Gaga.
In Gaga’s hallucination, they float down from the sky using an umbrella. In real life, the medical personnel arrive in a helicopter.
The woman who begins singing is actually a bystander on the scene of the accident.
Nearly every character in Gaga’s hallucination in a real-life person who reappears later.
The man who repeatedly hits his head against a pillow is actually a driver with a head injury.
He kneels on the ground and beats the right side of his head against a red pillow. Again, the color red is likely meant to represent blood, or a wound.
The doctor covers him with a glittering silver blanket, which is later revealed to be an emergency thermal blanket.
Thermal blankets are often used to regulate a person’s heat after exercise or trauma.
There is a group of bystanders who seem to record the accident’s aftermath.
In Gaga’s hallucination, the woman carries something that resembles a selfie stick.
A crying woman cradles a mummy, who’s later revealed to be a man injured in the accident.
Although she seems stoic in the hallucination, her right cheek is adorned with fake teardrops.
This scene embodies the lyric, “Keep my dolls inside diamond boxes.”
“Dolls” are pills, as coined in Jacqueline Susann 1966 novel “Valley of the Dolls.” In the video, Gaga literally puts a small doll inside a bedazzled box.
As previously mentioned, Gaga has confirmed that “911” is about her antipsychotic medication.
“It’s because I can’t always control things that my brain does. I know that. And I have to take medication to stop the process that occurs,” she told Apple Music.
In the next scene, Gaga appears to ascend to heaven — but the paramedic keeps her tethered to earth.
The paramedic holds Gaga with a rope tied around her injured ankle, which echoes a very similar scene in “The Colour of Pomegranates.”
The doctor holds a mirror, flashing a light into her face. This represents the medical penlight she uses to check real-life Gaga’s responses.
While Gaga floats, her face is illuminated by the sun’s reflection in the mirror.
As Gaga falls back to earth, a split-second frame shows her waking up in real life.
It’s extremely easy to miss this shot, which occurs for less than one second at the 2:17 mark.
The paramedic bends down and grasps Gaga’s ankle, representing a tourniquet.
At the end of the video, when Gaga remarks that she can’t feel her leg, the paramedic replies that her leg is going to be fine because of the tourniquet.
This man in blue represents a real-life police officer, posed to direct resources or traffic.
Throughout the video, Gaga seems to pay homage to emergency personnel who respond to accidents and disasters.
In her recent cover story for Billboard, she made a similar remark when defending the mandate to wear masks to limit the spread of COVID-19: “It’s really wrong for us to go, ‘I’m uncomfortable [with wearing a mask] because I can’t breathe,'” she told the magazine. “Give me a break. Show some respect for the people who are there for us when we dial 911.”
This parade-like scene appears to symbolize death and resurrection.
Gaga walks behind the horseman dressed in all-black, who now carries a yellow flag with a mysterious red symbol.
This could be a reference to the four horsemen of the apocalypse. In Christianity, the third horseman traditionally carries a scale, rides a black horse, and symbolizes famine.
There’s also a peacock sitting atop the roof, which historically symbolizes death and resurrection.
The doctor holds a snake in front of a red cross, which reappears as the insignia on her lab coat.
The lab coat bears the Rod of Asclepius, which is carried by the god Asclepius — associated with healing and medicine — in Greek Mythology.
Behind the doctor, the wall bears a crude depiction of the real-life accident.
It can be seen at the 2:46 mark.
Items in this scene represent medical materials, including a first responder spine board and an AED.
A spine board is used to stabilize victims on the site of an accident, while an automated external defibrillator is used to deliver an electrical shock to the person’s heart.
One man is seen throughout the video with a shell held to his mouth. In real life, he’s receiving oxygen after the accident.
The men holding the shell to his mouth are dressed in yellow and red, like the real-life firefighters.
In the final scene of Gaga’s hallucination, she has the symbol for “Chromatica” on her forehead.
The same symbol dominates the “Chromatica” cover art.
After Gaga is revived, the doctor asks if she’s on any medication.
In response, Gaga appears to say, “I didn’t have my pills.”
Gaga told Oprah back in January that she would “spiral very frequently” without her medication. This seems to suggest that she caused the accident in the video.