CULTURE | Lust For Life or Born To Die?

Monday, February 06, 2017

Lana Del Rey channels Peg Entwistle (a famous US entertainment star in the 1930s who famously jumped off the Hollywood sign in 1932). The video starts off with the symbolic storm inside Lana's eyes - "I've got a war in my mind" (Ride 2012). The camera then pans onto stage where Lana resembles old school singing with choreography (as Peg who started as a successful Broadway star). We then make a sudden jump to the second part of Peg's life, which entails a story a lot more tragic - she moved to Hollywood to try to make it big on the silver screen. Lana runs into the analog noise on screen toward Hollywood. However, due to the hardship of failing stardom there, Peg becomes disillusioned with life after trying to make it in Hollywood. Lana is now in Hollywood, facing that same disillusion as she climbs the Hollywood sign. 

The following extended sequence atop the Hollywood sign is a dance between living with the mindset that you were Born To Die or choosing to live with a Lust For Life. This is the tension between Abel (life) and Lana (death). Lana makes a break for it, attempting to end her life at the end of the sign - even after Abel is trying to show her the joys of life, converting her ribbon into a dreamy mystical sailboat. Lana meets the end of the Hollywood sign as the end of her "run" in Hollywood and life. Peg would've jumped here, as would anyone who had become too distraught and dark about their own life or the chaos of the world around them - much like the chaos of our modern times.

But, Abel is there to catch her from behind, reminder her of the joy and love in life. The end of Hollywood sign (a symbol of death) is turned on it's head, as Lana engages in the frivolous and childish act of sliding down it down the children's playride - thus embracing life with a symbol of birth and youth, which has two conclusions 
  • a) ends in death, we will all die anyway, but her joy is immortalised 
  • b) or is her entering the world again after withdrawing, and being ready to embrace life's limitless possibilities 
You decide. 

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