The graphic video for M.I.A.’s most recent single, “Born Free,” prompted its controversial ban by YouTube earlier today due to excessive violence. The unexpected decision to debar the video from what is generally considered a relatively open space for video and image sharing has brought on the circulation of a surge of comments and varying reactions across social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, as well as a slew of news pages.
Remarkably shot by French Director Romain Gavras, also known for creating the music videos for Justice’s “Stress” and Simian Mobile Disco’s “I Believe,” the nine minute short film creates a visual landscape that belies the now ironically titled track “Born Free” when several armed U.S. military soldiers raid an apartment building, arrest a young redheaded boy, shove him into a military bus with dozens of other similar-looking kids and taken to the outskirts of an unnamed town. Told to run through the desert, the boys hesitate, prompting one reactive soldier to make an example of the youngest kid in the group by putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger. Gavras leaves nil to the imagination. Virtually nothing is concealed as the bullet enters one side of the boy’s head and exits through the other.
What follows is best told by the images themselves, rather than by me.
Needless to say that viewer discretion is advised.