The product carries no institutional or other identification, but the music appearance of Madonna present it as a 3 1/2 minute music video promoting the single Die Another Day. This text is intrinsically inter-textual: it is the theme to the James Bond feature film of the same name. Movie audiences will see a completely different set of images set to the same music at the start of the film. Knowingly, the video presents Madonna in the role which Bond inhabits during the film’s opening titles: that of the spy being interrogated and tortured by an oppressive regime. The harsh single bulb in the familiar interrogators’ angle-poise lamp parodies the more flattering spotlight Madonna would normally expect to stand in.
As is common to many music videos, a narrative of sorts is presented: Madonna has been captured and is being tortured for information. Her internal battle over whether or not to tell them what they want to know is represented by a fencing match between ‘two’ Madonnas – one in white, one in black on a blood-red catwalk – and this is inter-cut with the supposed real world of Madonna’s incarceration. The colours suggest this is a fight between good and evil. Wounds on both fencers – both sides of her internal conflict – are manifested physically on Madonna’s body, connotating a powerful battle. At one point we observe the fencers within a broken mirror in her cell, seeming to represent the manifestation of a fractured personality. The lyrics also allude to this, as she sings: “Sigmund Freud – analyse this.”
The narrative is more complex than the song lyrics and is packed with binary oppositions. The black and white fencers are polar opposites; their (initially) graceful swordplay contrasts with the spy’s brutal treatment. The sole, beautiful woman is detained by a group of ugly men; she is from the West while her captors are from the East (as in the feature film). Throughout the video Madonna is defiant: as well... [continues]
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