Express Yourself: The Making of Madonna's 20 Greatest Music Videos

The directors who worked alongside the MTV-era maverick tell their stories

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3. "Open Your Heart" (1986)

"At the time, we were into a period where we were experimenting [with] some kind of freedom about the body, about sexuality and stuff. So the peep show was an idea that I had," says "Open Your Heat" director Jean-Baptiste Mondino. "But there was something sweet about this little boy waiting for her outside — something very naïve and sweet."

Clad in a black bustier and stripping off her gloves and wig, "Open Your Heart" was Madonna's first overtly risqué clip. But this was no shock piece: An even mix of Fellini and Fosse, "Open Your Heart" was gorgeous, from the paintings of art deco artist Tamara de Lempicka on the club exterior, to the colorfully cold cast of characters. At one point, in a brilliant piece of synergy, Madonna leans back and mimics the now-iconic Herb Ritts cover photo of "Open Your Heart"'s album, True Blue. "Because she makes the picture, you know?" says Mondino. "She gives you the stuff. You've got to be ready to grab it." 

Jean-Baptiste Mondino, director: [The set was built] from scratch. We found this place where we could actually build it. We just built the front of it and the little booth where the old man was inside. I guess it was my Hollywood period where I was in [a] Hollywood state of mind with my cranes, the building....We were very young [laughs] and everything was possible, I guess. I like the fakeness of it. I haven't seen it for a long time, but when I saw it once again, I said, "It's so naïve." It's kind of badly done, which I like, compared to today. We didn't have the same equipment, people are more skillful today, but there's something sweet about it. I love the ending; like a Charlie Chaplin ending when they run after each other. That little moment is very touching.

The good story about this video is that it was the first one I did with Madonna, and I said to her, "You know it could be nice maybe if you wear a black wig," because she was kind of blonde. Very well known as being the blonde with short hair. So a few days before the shoot, we had the meeting with hair and makeup and they work on her and they prepare her with the outfit and the wig and stuff. And I came in and they were all raving about, "Oh my God, she's so beautiful" and stuff. Then she turns around and she looks at me with the wig on and says, "OK, Mondino — tell me what do you think." And when Madonna asks you something, she asks you something, you know? It's not just like a sentence; she really meant it.

So I look at her and say, "Well, you look great, but to be honest, I prefer you in blonde." She looked and me and that day, she trusted me because she knew more than anyone else that she was better in blonde….And I think that day, maybe that's when I gained her confidence. 

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