American Life – Director’s Cut in 4K
On the 20th anniversary of the album release, Madonna has released the 4K remastered version of the Director’s Cut for the American Life music video on her YouTube channel.
While this version of the video was previously available from the official website of director Jonas Åkerlund, the quality improvement of the 4K remaster is stunning. This is not the original version that was pulled immediately after release in 2003 – notably, the infamous final with the George W. Bush lookalike is missing – but it is as close as we get to the original. It also features scenes of staged violence that were not included in the first commercial edit of the videoclip and it is miles away from the “flags” tamed re-edit that premiered on VH1 on April 16 the same year.
At the time, Madonna released the following statement:
I have decided not to release my new video. It was filmed before the war started and I do not believe it is appropriate to air it at this time. Due to the volatile state of the world and out of sensitivity and respect to the armed forces, who I support and pray for, I do not want to risk offending anyone who might misinterpret the meaning of this video.
The following year, footage from the original video made a comeback as a backdrop in the second section of Re-invention Tour.