Film & Video
2 min

Madonna’s secretprojectrevolution sparks but doesn’t ignite

The buzzed online video project amazes and confuses

secretproject Steven Klein

Over the last few months, Madonna has teased a new project cryptically titled secretprojectrevolution. The short film debuted online Sept 24 and launched her broader Art for Freedom project. The film screened in various secret locales around the globe the night of Sept 23 — cities on the itinerary included Rome, Tel Aviv and Toronto.

The Queen of Pop collaborated with American photographer Steven Klein to produce a dark, grizzly video that clocks in at 17 minutes. The results could have been used as an interlude during her 2012 MDNA world tour and an opportunity for the star to dry off, sip some coconut water and change costumes if it had been completed on time.

The video sees Madonna, yet again, wielding a revolver and blowing her dancer’s brains out before being dragged across the floor and jailed. It’s the same incarnation of Madonna born out of the Vogue and Erotica era of the early 1990s. Shot in black and white and echoing 1991’s Truth or Dare and 2005’s less-compelling sister documentary I’m Going to Tell You a Secret, secretprojectrevolution has the same cinema vérité style of filmmaking but with more theatrics and embellishment.

Madonna warns that a war on freedom of expression and human rights is on the horizon. In the dystopic world of the film she cautions against artists being defined by corporate branding through a sombre and deadpan voiceover. An interesting choice of words considering the superstar topped the 2012 Forbes list of highest-earning celebrities.

Her heart may be in the right place, but the logistics of igniting a revolution are a little trickier and require a little more effort than producing a highly stylized video that privileges beauty and celebrity over political substance. Perhaps as the Art for Freedom project rolls out, a more tangible, lucid message will reveal itself, or perhaps secretprojectrevolution is simply a stop-gap to fill the dead zone between studio albums.

Despite the political, anarchistic tone of the film, the Madonna we’ve grown to know and love through the decades still manages to make an appearance.

"If I was wearing combat gear and had an AK-47 strapped to my back, would you take me seriously?" she asks. "Instead, I’m a woman. I’m blonde, I have tits and an ass and an insatiable desire to be noticed."

Mission accomplished.

Click on the video at the top of the story to check out Madonna’s secretprojectrevolution or download the full film free via BitTorrent.