American Life (Unreleased Directors Cut) | Madonna
Conceived in early 2003 when an Iraq invasion by US forces was looming overhead, Madonna and director Jonas Åkerlund filmed a potent, prophetic, tongue-in-cheek “war is fashionable in a consumer obsessed culture” video satire in protest of the Afghanistan war and the Bush administration’s fascist-like attempts to shift an open society into a dictatorship. It seemed to be the “perfect storm” plan of timing, politics, controversy, art, and timing to dove-tail succinctly with the release of the ‘American Life’ single and album. However, before its world premiere on music channels in March 2003, Madonna unexpectedly cancelled the release and issued a statement saying that, “I do not believe that it is appropriate to air it (the video) at this time. Due to the volatile state of the world and out of sensitivity and respect for the armed forces, who I support and pray for, I do not want to risk offending anyone who might misinterpret the meaning of this video.” Because of this, Madonna & Jonas released a politically correct second version of the video that featured her singing in front of the world’s flags that seems a little lifeless and inadequate when in comparison. Rumors immediately ensued, accusing Warner Music (Madonna’s record label at the time) of censorship. Rumors which were never substantiated.