Lana Del Rey Lets Sin and Symbolism Fly in ‘Tropico’
John Wayne, Elvis Presley, Jesus and Marilyn Monroe are hanging out in the Garden of Eden with a unicorn. What sounds like the set-up for a long, weird joke is actually the start of Lana Del Rey’s long, weird new short film, Tropico. Centered around three tracks from Del Rey’s Born to Die – Paradise Edition, the clip premiered last night at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, and now you can watch the whole thing, which was directed by Anthony Mandler and stars Del Rey and model Shaun Ross.
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Tropico, which Del Rey also wrote, opens with the singer and Ross portraying Adam and Even, dancing seductively to Del Rey’s “Body Electric” around the Garden of Eden as the aforementioned quartet of Wayne, Elvis, Monroe and Jesus hangs out on the sidelines (with the unicorn, lest we forget). Following the inevitable eating of the apple from the forbidden tree of knowledge, the couple are transported to modern day Los Angeles, where Del Rey finds herself transformed into a stripper with a heart of gold, while Ross becomes a bored convenience store clerk.
With life not offering much, the two enter a life of pure debauchery to the tune of “Gods and Monsters,” and unsurprisingly, all the guns and boozing lead to an inevitable breaking point: Ross leads a cadre of gangsters as they rob an unexpecting group of businessmen enjoying a private evening with some of Del Rey’s fellow dancers. Following the heist and suitably ridiculous celebration, the couple steal away for a nice romantic romp through a field at sunset while Del Rey sings “Bel Air.” Ostensibly reborn and cleansed of their sins, the couple put on some white clothes to prove it and then ascend to heaven in each other’s arms as Wayne croons the country standard, “Always on My Mind.”
In other Del Rey news, the singer revealed at the Tropico premiere that her new album would be called Ultra-Violence, perhaps a reference to a phrase used in Anthony Burgess’s 1962 book A Clockwork Orange. The album will follow her 2012 breakout, Born to Die, but Del Rey offered no other details about the record. Just a month ago, however, the singer admitted she was struggling with new material, telling Nylon, “I don’t want to say, ‘Yeah, definitely – the next one’s better than this one,’ because I don’t really hear a next one. My muse is very fickle. She only comes to me sometimes, which is annoying.”