Kelly Osbourne, femme fatale? The singer/actress reinvents herself in a rather unexpected way for her upcoming video "One Word," in which she's the spy star of her own French new-wave noir film.
"I'm going for something like very 'Alphaville,' " Osbourne told MTV News last month when she was dreaming up the concept (see "Kelly Osbourne Says She Hated First LP, Wants To Do Broadway"). "Very '60s, nothing that I thought I'd ever do, like very black-and-white. I'm excited for that. And I'm going to wear a wig!"
To flesh out her idea, Osbourne enlisted director Chris Applebaum to emulate "Alphaville," Jean-Luc Godard's classic 1965 avant-garde film. Their take, which shot this past weekend, was filmed in black-and-white 35 mm, while Osbourne herself embodied the look of the film's star, Anna Karina, with sharp bangs and porcelain skin.
According to the video's treatment, Osbourne's character has been hired to observe the system of a socialist society, but is secretly a double agent working to save female prisoners of state. In the back of a car, Osbourne speaks to her handlers at headquarters through a vintage phone in French, as subtitles come across the screen, translating phrases such as "Do you have the information?" When she pulls up to the front gates of the city, she enters a glass box with microphones hanging from the ceiling, as an unknown voice (also subtitled) asks her cryptic questions, including "What is the privilege of the dead?" She answers, "To die no more," and then starts singing the first verse as the gates open.
She's led by escorts — all wearing the same black trench coats and hats — who take her down endless hallways of rooms where aspects of the program she's supposed to document are playing out. In one room, expressionless men sit around a table as a line of women walk up, one by one, to be evaluated. In another room, more expressionless men sit and watch women with numbers on the backs of their necks fall into the water one by one, only to become motionless and require removal. As Osbourne watches, she sneaks pictures with a camera and makes drawings and other notations in her notebook.
In a third room, women are lying down stiffly on a bare mattress (with Osbourne disguised as one of them) as men behind a two-way mirror evaluate them. Careful not to be caught, she passes along a circular chip to all the girls in the room, something that they seem to understand as symbolic of freedom. Osbourne's handlers then come into the room and pick her up from the mattress to move her into the next stage of evaluation — and presumably selection — but she escapes, tripping the system on the way so that the master computer can destroy everything on a time delay. As she leaves the city, performing the final verse of the song in the back of her car, the lights start to go off in the city behind her until it blacks out completely.